Tainted former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt has been overlooked by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee from the preliminary squad for the upcoming West Indies series. Speculations were rife that Butt may make a return on the back of consistent performances at the domestic level. However, the misunderstanding was cleared after the final preliminary squad got released.
A source close to Salman Butt said:
“Such treatment of the cricket board and selectors with top performers of domestic cricket has already destroyed careers of many talented players, who either preferred to play for another country or board, or quit the game with utter disappointment. If such injustices will continue in the board unabated, it will make future of Pakistan cricket bleak.”
While Butt may have been left dejected, the committee headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq decided to reward the top PSL performers Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad. The duo has been struggling to keep their place in the national squad from quite a while and this can be a bright chance to regain their lost reputation.
Kamran Akmal, who was the best wicket-keeper batsman of Pakistan Super League (PSL), has reaped the benefits of playing in the T20 League. His superb form with the bat yielded him 353 runs, helping him finish as the top run-getter in the tournament. The PSL performances came after he had already scored 1,035 in the premier first class tournament and another 361 runs in the National One-Day Cup in the 2016-17 season.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad was also able to regain his place in the team with the help of similar performances. The right-hander was dropped last year on disciplinary grounds by former head coach Waqar Younis. However, Shahzad has worked his way to the top by finishing as the top-scorer in the National One-Day Cup with 653 runs. He followed this up with a couple of match-winning performances in the PSL.
Top performing youngsters of the PSL – Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Usman Shinwari, Hussain Talat, Ammad Butt, Hasan Ali, M Abbas and others proved their mettle through their outstanding performances and succeeded in securing berth in the preliminary squad.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials said the preliminary squad would train under head coach Mickey Arthur in a camp to be held at the Gaddafi Stadium from March 11 to 17 and then the team would leave for the West Indies three days after the camp.
Pakistan will play four T20Is against the West Indies, which will be followed by three ODIs and as many Tests.
PRELIMINARY SQUAD: Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Asif Zakir, Saad Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Kamran Akmal, Fahim Ashraf, Hussain Talat, Ammad Butt, Mohammad Aamir, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Rumman Raees, Sohail Khan, Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanveer, M Abbas, Usman Shinwari, Usama Mir, Immad Wasim, M Asghar, Shadab Khan, M Nawaz, Yasir Shah.