LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Monday recalled opening batsman Ahmad Shahzad in the 15-member squad for the World Twenty20.
The cricket board dropped flopped Khurram Manzoor to make way for experienced Shahzad, who impressed the selectors with his batting display in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed termed inclusion of Khurram in the Pakistan team which produced dismal show in the Asia Cup ‘a gamble’ which did not pay off. “As a chief selector, I take full responsibility for the failure of Manzoor, whose inclusion backfired,” he told the reporters here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Monday.
Haroon said the PCB authorities and the national selection committee took into consideration the failure of the top order in the Asia Cup and finally decided to include Ahmad Shahzad to boost up the performance of the top batting order in the World T20. “In the given circumstances, Ahmad is the best available choice as he showed fine performance in the PSL, scoring 290 runs in 10 matches at a strike-rate of 143.56 and a half-century in the final,” he added.
Admitting the inclusion of Manzoor’s inclusion in the team as an error of judgment, Haroon said: “Manzoor scored bulk of runs in domestic cricket and based on that, we gave him a chance which he failed to justify and you can call his inclusion an error of judgment of whatever.”
“It happens in cricket, you gamble on a particular player. Take the example of Shoaib Malik, we gambled on him last year and it paid off but in the case of Manzoor, it did not,” he said and added: “While picking the squad, the team management and skipper were consulted by the selectors, and all concerned gave their consent in this regard.”
Haroon said the T20 team had been selected keeping in mind the conditions during the World T20 in India. “The team is a fine blend of experience and youth and the selectors believe that the team will do well in the mega event,” said the chief selector.
With the return of opener Ahmad Shahzad , the rumors to include tainted opener Salman Butt in the World T20 squad were over as the PCB didn’t seem ready to make him part of the national side at this stage.
Salman Butt scored as many as 536 runs in the national one day tournament in the role of second highest scorer, emerging as a strong candidate to win back his place in the side after completing a ban for spot fixing in 2010 during the tour of England. But the PCB high ups were not in a mood to give him chance at such an early stage.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Monday sent a team to assess security for the World Twenty20 starting in India this week.
Pakistan has voiced repeated concern about security for the tournament, and participation could depend on the delegation’s assessment. The South Asian adversaries have not played a bilateral series for more than three years due to diplomatic tensions.
A senior PCB official confirmed the delegation had departed and was likely to return Tuesday. The delegation, comprises of Director Federal Investigation Agency Usman Anwar and PCB Chief Security Officer Retired Col Azam Khan, will ascertain security for Pakistan team ahead of the crucial match against India.
The officials will assess whether the security situation is suitable for the visit by the cricket team, amid threats from Indian extremist and militant organisations. The team officials will meet senior Indian security officials and will assess the lodging and boarding arrangements for the players. The team will likely to meet the Himachal Pradesh chief minister and the state police chief and prepare a report to submit to the PCB and the Interior Ministry, a statement said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali in a press conference had said that the threat to the Pakistani cricket team was credible and hinted at delay in scheduled departure of the cricket team to India until security appraisal and clearance from the security team. The chief minister of the Himachal Pradesh recently refused to provide security for a World T20 tie featuring Pakistan and suggested on Sunday that the match should be moved to another venue out of respect for those killed in an assault by militants on the Pathankot air force base in neighbouring Indian Punjab.
REVISED T20 SQUAD: Shahid Afridi (capt), Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (vc/wk), M Hafeez, Umer Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, M Nawaz, Immad Wasim, Anwar Ali, M Irfan, M Aamir, Wahab Riaz, M Sami and Khalid Latif.
TEAM MANAGEMENT: Intikhab Alam (team manager), Waqar Younis (head coach), Azhar Mahmood (bowling coach), Grant William Flower (batting coach), Grant Trafford Luden (fielding coach-cum-trainer), Dr Sohail Saleem (physiotherapist), Shahid Aslam (assistant team manager), Col (R) Azam Khan (security manager), Agha Akbar (media manager), Talah Ejaz (analyst) and Malang Ali (masseur).