Karachi: The Pakistan selectors had a number of surprises in store when on Monday they announced the squads for the T20 and ODI series in India.
There's bad news for all those Shahid Afridi fans, who love to see the exciting all-rounder in action. Afridi has been omitted for the three-match ODI series. However, there's some consolation as Afridi has been retained in the squad for the two-match T20 series, which precedes the one-dayers.
But another experienced all-rounder, Abdul Razzaq, wasn't that lucky as he didn't find a place in either squad.
Pakistan's tour of India, which starts from December 22, comprises of five matches, which will mark the first bilateral series between the two countries since 2007.
"We have our eyes on the 2015 World Cup and other ICC events and we have to start building for the future that is why we have recalled younger players," chief selector Iqbal Qasim said.
He made it clear that the selection was done on merit keeping in mind recent performances and fitness of players.
He added that young left-arm spinner, Reza Hasan, was not considered for the tour since he has a back injury.
The injury to Hasan has opened the doors for rookie spinner Zulfiqar Baber who has been impressive in the recent first-class Presidents Trophy and the National T20 Championship. Baber and has been picked in both squads.
The selectors have also included rookie pacer Asad Ali for the T20 matches, while recalling pacers Wahab Riaz, Mohammed Irfan and Anwar Ali and batsmen Ahmed Shahzad and Umar Amin.
Meanwhile, former ICC president Ehsan Mani has criticised the PCB for agreeing to tour India. "I think the PCB is wrong to have agreed to this. If it is a political decision, then the PCB should have asked the politicians to make sure that India reciprocated by coming and playing against Pakistan even if it was at a neutral venue," Mani has said. "My opinion is Pakistan should not be going to India at all. India or the BCCI went out of its way after the Mumbai attack to isolate Pakistan cricket at the ICC," Mani added.
In a separate development, reports said that the PCB has succeeded in convincing former ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat to become a consultant for its T20 Premier League, scheduled for next year.
"Although nothing has been signed or sealed as yet but the PCB has roped in Lorgat and want to use his expertise in not only organising the PPL but also convincing international teams to resume playing in Pakistan," the source said.