Pakistan recall Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad for T20I series against Sri Lanka


Head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq on Wednesday recalled Pakistan’s enfant terrible duo of Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad for the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday announced a 16-member squad for the T20 series starting on October 5 in Lahore.

Umar, 29, last played a T20 for Pakistan in November 2016 against the West Indies but the previous selection committee had played him in the ODI series against Australia in March this year before the World Cup.

Opener Shehzad has also been out of luck since June 2018 when he last played in a T20 in Edinburg against Scotland.

Both the players have never been on the popularity list of national selectors or team management and former coach, Mickey Arthur preferred to keep them out of the team for all formats for the most part of his three-year stint as head coach.

But Misbah has other ideas and he made it clear that he is eyeing next year’s World T20 in Australia.

“Both Shehzad and Umar are experienced players and have performed and left an impact in the T20 format. They trained hard in the recent conditioning camp and have done well in domestic cricket so we are giving them a chance,” Misbah said.

“We are checking players for vacant spots in the team ahead of the World Cup which is important for us,” Misbah said, adding he is also looking at Ifthikar Ahmed as a utility player.

Shehzad, 27, got a four-month doping ban in October, 2018 for failing a dope test during a national championship earlier in the year and has appeared in 57 T20 internationals.

Umar has played in 82 T20 internationals for his country.

The chief selector has also recalled allrounder Faheem Ashraf for the Sri Lanka series after he was dropped for the World Cup squad this year.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq has been left out of the squad due to a hand injury which has also forced him out of the third and final one-day international against Sri Lanka on Wednesday in Karachi.

Pakistan T20 squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed (Capt), Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Ifthikar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Muhammad Aamir, Muhammad Hasnain, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Umar Akmal, Usman Shinwari and Wahab Riaz.

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