Pak drops Akmal from Asia Cup squad
Karachi (PTI): Pakistan's long serving wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal's luck finally ran out on Thursday when the national selection committee axed him from the Asia Cup squad and brought in young Sarfraz Ahmed.
With Sarfraz the only keeper named in a short list of 20 probables for a two-day conditioning camp here, it was obvious that Kamran had lost the confidence of the selectors.
Selectors said a final 15- member squad would be named on Sunday.
Kamran's omission came after he played virtually non-stop for Pakistan in 38 Tests and 88 one-day internationals since replacing Moin Khan in 2004.
He missed out on three one-dayers in recent months when the selectors rested him and played Sarfraz, 21, who hails from Karachi which traditionally has given Pakistan its best and longest serving keepers including Wasim Bari, Saleem Yousuf, Rashid Latif and Moin.
The decision to drop Kamran came after his keeping had come in for sharp criticism even in the tri-series final win over India in Dhaka recently and also during the Indian Premier League.
Sources say the captain and coach, sensing his time was up, had even tried to rescue him by sending him in as makeshift opener in Dhaka but the ploy didn't cut any ice with the selectors.
The selectors dropped him after a lengthy meeting held in Lahore on Thursday in which there was plenty of debate on Kamran with the captain rooting for his retention.
"But the selectors took a stand that Kamran had been given enough chances and it was time to give Sarfraz a proper and uninterrupted run in the Asia Cup," one source said.
On record, chief selector, Salahuddin Ahmed said that Kamran remained the team's number one keeper but it was felt to give other players a chance.
"Also this long rest will allow him to recoup and rest and try to comeback strong and fresh," he said.
Salahuddin hoped the team would continue its same good form in the coming Asia Cup that it had shown in the tri-series final.
The selectors also included rookie off spinner Saeed Ajmal and gave another call to young all-rounder Mansoor Amjad.
The indications were that these young players would be given a chance against the weaker opposition in the Asia Cup.
Probables: Shoaib Malik (C), Nasir Jamshed, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Sohail Tanvir, Bazid Khan, Yasir Hameed, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal, Mansoor Amjad, Naumanullah and Asad Rauf.