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Pakistan cricket board PCB announces 16-man squad, last chance for Afraid, Akmal

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Pakistan cricket board PCB announces 16-man squad, last chance for Afraid, Akmal

ISLAMABAD : Pakistan cricket board has announced the 16-man squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh starting from June 8. The names of Pakistan players are as follows:

Shoaib Malik –Captain , Misbah-Ul-Haq -Vice Captain, Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal , Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar, Wahab Riaz, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan and Naumanullah .

"It is the best available team and a well-balanced squad," Salahuddin Ahmed, chief selector, told media. "We are aiming for some continuity in selection and that shows with the selection of players such as Nasir Jamshed and Wahab Riaz."

The team was chosen after extensive discussions between the selection committee and Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain. The coach Geoff Lawson, however, wasn't present, having not arrived in time from Sydney . Lawson has had, at times, a testy relationship with the selection committee and his absence, it is believed, has not gone down particularly well with the PCB.

Disappointingly perhaps, of the many new faces trialled against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh earlier this year, only opener Nasir Jamshed and left-arm bowler Wahab Riaz find space on the plane to Dhaka .

Promising youngsters, such as openers Khurram Manzoor and Khalid Latif, fast bowler Sohail Khan and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed have been left behind. The last three are on the reserves list and will instead form part of a camp in Lahore for a pool of players to be considered for the Asia Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy later in the year. The trio, in particular Sohail, remain in contention for the Asia Cup, say the selectors.

It is learnt that Kamran Akmal will open the innings with Salman Butt, a combination that Malik has publicly backed. But it has also been made clear, according to one of the selectors, that this is the last chance for Akmal to make an impact as an opener and failure could mean ouster from the team.

Shahid Afridi's form with the bat will also come under scrutiny during the tournament, one source close to the meeting suggesting that the captain was keen on Mansoor Amjad replacing the veteran all-rounder.