Shoaib & Gul rested for Zimbabwe

Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul have been omitted from Pakistan’s 21-man provisional squad for the one-day international series against Zimbabwe.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed revealed that the fast bowling duo were left out due to injury concerns. “Akhtar and Gul will have to prove their fitness and that’s why we did not consider them for selection in this probable list of 21,” he said.

Though Akhtar played all three Tests against India at the tail-end of last year, his bowling after the first Test was limited by injury. In Kolkata he was hampered by illness, whilst a back injury restricted him in Bangalore. Gul participated in the one-day series with India but was left out of the Tests with a back injury.

The other major omission from the squad is that of Shahid Afridi, due to lack of form. In four ODI appearances against India he scored just 73 runs and took 2 wickets. However, Ahmed commented that Afridi may still make the squad if he impresses for the Patrons XI against the Zimbabweans. The four-day match starts on Monday.

New faces in the squad include Under-19 phenom Anwar Ali – the swing bowler – and leg-spinning allrounder Mansoor Amjad. Left-hander Shadab Kabir, 30, received the last of his three ODI caps in 1996, but gets a recall after impressive domestic form.

The first match of the five-ODI series will be played on January 21.

Pakistan Provisional Squad
Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Shadab Kabir, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Naveed Latif, Kamran Akmal (wk), Salman Ahmed, Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Mansoor Amjad, Abdur Rauf, Rauf Akbar, Junaid Zia, Wahab Riaz, Anwar Ali, Tahir Khan, Saeed Ajmal.

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