After Pakistan’s worst performance in the last month Champions Trophy, the demands of revolutionary changes in the teams were running high. The fact that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has now new faces at some of the key posts has furthered strengthened fans’ expectations that there would be a total revamp in the team. But such hopes faded away after the announcement of national team for the coming West Indies tour. Same old faces. Moreover, there seems to be the same lack of management which was there before the recent tournament.

[caption id="attachment_1817" align="alignright" width="300"]Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Umar Shehzad have been included in both ODI and T20 squads (Photo: Getty Images) Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal and Umar Shehzad have been included in both ODI and T20 squads (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

Though the PCB has tried to make the team look new by axing a few players, the side has the same shortcoming it had before the Champions Trophy and the squad, in no way, looks like the one that would help Pakistan in 2014 World T20 and 2015 World Cup.

Pakistan need to undertake a few experiments, at least in the T20 format, just like other teams have been doing for quite a while. Be it England or Australia or South Africa or New Zealand, they all are treating the T20 format as nursery, where they are imbuing new players with international experience and then later utilising them. But in Pakistan, it seems that every player is a jack of all trades, that is, every one of them is fit for all formats. For instance, Pakistan need to use Mohammad Irfan with great care as his career has already began late. But he was part of the Test team in South Africa tour, the ODI team in the Champions Trophy and now the T20 team in the upcoming tour of Caribbean. Same goes with Junaid Khan and a possible injury could bar him from playing for a long period of time.

Anyhow, the important news of all is the return of Shahid Afridi, once again. He has replaced Shoaib Malik in both one-day and T20 formats. If the squad has been selected on performance, Afridi’s ainclusion is the most surprising because he has taken just 15 wickets at 57.13 in the last one and a half years and his batting average also remained 19.25. So including Afridi in place of Malik, who was performing the same way because of which he was axed from the side, is not good for the team. Though we hope – against hope – that Afridi would perform in the coming tour, the mere change of face is not likely to serve the team on the long-term.

The team was announced in a press conference in Lahore in which Chief Selector Iqbal Qasim, along with both formats’ captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez, and head coach Dav Whatmore, were present. Defending Afridi’s return, Misbah said the wickets in West Indies are totally different to that of England’s and the all-rounder would be helpful in such conditions as he is a complete batsman on seventh position. However, Misbah made it clear that it is not necessary that Afridi would be part of the team at every cost and his inclusion would subject to the situation.

Mohammad Rizwan, who belongs to Peshawar, has replaced wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal. Rizwan, 21, has a remarkable average of more than 44 in 35 first-class matches and his number of stumps and catches behind the wicket amount to 122. Although the move is welcoming, the PCB’s tradition of calling a new wicket-keeper every time instead of Kamran is not good anyway. Mohammad Salman, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Adnan Akmal – the board should stick to one of them and then give him chances to perform, rather than calling Kamran back after a series.

The third player to be ruled out of team is Imran Farhat, who is possibly replaced by Ahmed Shehzad. Having scored 477 runs at more than 26 in 19 ODIs, he is undoubtedly the future of Pakistan, but his career has been plagued with ins and outs. Making his debut in April 2009, he has represented Pakistan in just 19 one-dayers and 11 T20s.

No major changes have been made in the bowling department. Umar Gul is not included as he is still recovering after a knee surgery. Apart from that, the remaining bowling line-up was almost the same, who, in the recent Champions Trophy, did not live up to the expectations but performed way better than the batsmen.

Another major inclusion in the team is of Umar Akmal, who was sorely missed in England. But at this time around, he has got an additional charge – he has been included in the squad as a wicket-keeper batsman and he would be seen in action behind the wickets if Rizwan was not given a chance.

Pakistan will play their first ODI off the tour on July 14. The fifth and the last one-day will be played on July 24, followed by two T20s on July 27 and 28.

Pakistan’s squads for both formats are given below:

ODI: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Asad Ali, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdur Rehman, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed and Wahab Riaz.

T20: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Ali, Junaid Khan, Haris Sohail, Hammad Azam, Zulfiqar Babar, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afirid, Umar Akmal, Umar Amin, Mohamamd Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Wahab Riaz.
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