Shahid Afridi has been announced as the skipper for Asia Cup and off-shore home-series in England against Aussies and England
Shahid Afridi has been announced as the skipper for upcoming Asia Cup to be played in Sri Lanka, featuring India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. After that they are gonna travel to England where they have to play against Aussies and later against England.
The importance of this series is that this is a full fledged home-series Pakistan has able to play against any opponent since the attack of Sri Lankan team convoy in Lahore on 3rd of March 2009. After that incident Pakistan played a ODI and one only T20 series against Aussies in Dubai and Abu Dhabi just before the 2009 edition of World T20 in England.
Another big news is that some of the seniors minus Mohammad Yousuf have been recalled in the 30 member probables, like Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Shoaib Akhtar to name some.
I personally feel the inclusion of Shoaib Akhtar would benefit Pakistani team as what I saw in the Pentangular ODI cup recently concluded just before the start of ICC World T20 2010, and he was impressive aswell. Shoaib last played an international for Pakistan in May 2009 and his last Test back in December 2007, but has this season turned out in domestic cricket in a bid to prove his fitness; he was particularly impressive in the Pentangular ODI cup in Karachi recently.
Again being personal, this time selectors did the right thing in dropping Misbah-ul-Haq, I've a great regards for him but his stay on the pitch isn't benefiting Pakistan as much as he's expected to. Plus he has been included in the team since Pakistan started their tour to New Zealand and than not to mention Aussie tour where he didn't perform up-to-the-mark, and even in the World T20 2010, he wasn't in his prime form like he was once in 2007 edition of World T20 in South Africa and later in tests in India, so I personally think it was time to give that space to someone more deserving.
Inclusion of Shahzaib Hassan is a good omen for the team, I personally think (maybe I am saying too much) that he's a similar sorta player compared to Sanath Jayasuria, the way he played in RBS Pentangular ODI cup, he deserved a place in playing national team squad.
Kamran Akmal has been named with another keeper on his back Zulqarnain Haider, so that now Kamran Akmal has performance pressure on his shoulder, as during the New Years Sydney Test 2010, he dropped Mike Hussey 4 times in second innings of almost won test match and than fluffing a easy run-out, this sorta performance needed some check and balance and selection committee did the right thing by pressurizing him by placing a second wicket-keeper with him in the squad, the only edge which Kamran Akmal has on Haider is of batting, he's a much better batsman than Zulqarnain Haider.
The only drawback in this squad I feel is of absence of Mohammad Yousuf whom Shahid Afridi told the media that he [Shahid Afridi] insisted Yousuf to withdraw his retirement decision but Afridi said Yousuf was unwilling to change his mind. He was the successful run-scorer for Pakistan in their last trip to England against the looks of Steve Harmisons, James Andersons etc and now in this trip Mohammad Yousuf's absence would be greatly felt as I personally feel their isn't any player of MoYo's caliber in this currently announced squad.
Probables for Pakistani team:
Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Khurram Manzoor, Shahzaib Hassan, Azhar Ali, Azeem Ghumman, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam, Hasan Raza, Asad Shafiq, Umar Amin, Aamer Sajjad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Tanvir Ahmed, Aizaz Cheema, Danish Kaneria, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Kamran Akmal (wk), Zulqarnain Haider (wk)