LAHORE - Pakistan pacers Umar Gul and M Irfan have been ruled out of the Test and one-day international series in Sri Lanka during August due to fitness problems while senior batsman Younus Khan makes a comeback to the ODI squad after March 2013.
Chief selector Moin Khan said that both Gul and Irfan were not 100 per cent fit which is why the selectors had decided against taking a risk with them due to the heavy international calendar of the national team until the World Cup 2015.
All-rounder M Hafeez has also been ignored for the Test squad once again and indications of this had come when he was given an NOC by the cricket board to go and play in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) the dates of which clash with the two Tests in Sri Lanka starting August 6.
Gul suffered a recurrence of his knee injury which has troubled him since last year and which forced him to also undergo knee surgery in Australia in May, 2013. Gul, the senior most pacer in the present Pakistan team, suffered the recurrence of the knee problem while playing in the recent MCC and Rest of the World match at Lords in which he bowled just two overs.
Irfan, Moin said, had still not gained 100 percent fitness from his hip fracture injury that he suffered last year in UAE while playing against South Africa. "Irfan is a key bowler for us keeping in mind the World Cup so we want to ensure he slowly gets back to top fitness by the time the series against Australia and New Zealand is played later this year," Moin added.
In another surprise, the selectors have ignored regular Test keeper, Adnan Akmal for the two matches and decided to go with Sarfaraz Ahmed who was called in as a late replacement for Adnan during the last series against Sri Lanka in the UAE. But interestingly, the selectors have picked no specialist keeper for the five one-day matches indicating they will go with Umar behind the stumps a role he has fulfilled a number of times last year.
The selectors have also decided to give former captain Younus another shot at ODI cricket since the senior player has in recent times said he wanted to be part of the World Cup 2015. Younus has been sidelined from the ODI squad after playing against hosts South Africa last year in March. Pakistan tours Sri Lanka from August 1 for two Test and three ODIs.
TEST SQUAD: Ahmed Shahzad, Khurrum Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younus Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, M Talha, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali, Wahab Riaz.
ODI SQUAD: Ahmed Shahzad, Sharjeel Khan, M Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Younus Khan, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Sohaib Maqsood Shahid Afridi, Anwar Ali, Saeed Ajmal, M Talha, Junaid Khan, Wahab Riaz, Zulfiqar Babar.