Akhtar included in Pak squad for Toronto T20 tournament

Lahore, Oct 7 (UNI) After a long wait of almost 10 months, controversial speedster Shoaib Akhtar was finally relieved today when he was included in a new look 15-member Pakistani squad for a four-nation Twenty20 tournament to be played from October 10 in Toronto.

While Akhtar, who is yet to pay a Rs 7 million fine imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over repeated breaches of discipline, did make it to the squad, senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf failed to get a a place in the team.

''It is the most balanced side which has been named keeping in view the fact of giving a chance to young players and I would say it is a new look team which is full of promise and commitment,'' PCB chief selector Salah-ud-din said here today.

The composition of the team reveals variety of fast bowlers, a total six in number, and some of them are blending into all-rounders.

The decision to recall Shoaib Akhtar was not unexpected as he had bowled well in the national championship and had expressed his keenness to play again for Pakistan. His last appearance for Pakistan was in December last year in India.

''Twenty20 cricket needs such cricketers who can fit in different roles and they must be having additional qualities if they are a bowler or a batsmen and we believe that all-rounders can serve the cause,'' Salah-ud-din added.

There are three new rookie players included in the team for the first time. The selectors have named fast bowler Anwar Ali and batsmen Khalid Latif and Shoaib Khan for the first time.

''We want to groom young players and that is why we are giving enough chance to new players and we have attached high hopes from the because of their potential and talent,'' he added.

The squad has been named just 24 hours ahead of departure of the team which will fly out to Canada. Sources said Yousuf was not in the side because he was refused visa and two other players who were in the list of probables were also not granted visas.

Team: Shoaib Malik (Capt), Misbah-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Fawad Alam, Sohail Khan, Khalid Latif, Abdur Rauf, Shoaib Khan and Anwar Ali.


Story first published: Wednesday, October 8, 2008, 12:31 [IST]
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