Pakistan have left out Shoaib Akhtar
from the 16-man squad for the tour of Bangladesh, which starts with a Twenty20 international on March 10. The selectors have included three uncapped players to have impressed on the domestic circuit this season - the opener Ahmed Shehzad
, legspinner Yasir Shah
and fast bowler Mohammad Aamer
Last month Shoaib had targeted the Bangladesh tour, saying he did not require surgery on a troublesome knee. Abdul Qadir, Pakistan's chief selector, told reporters in Lahore that he had asked Shoaib to play in a domestic first-class last month, "but somehow he didn't play in the match to prove his fitness."
"He told me that now he didn't require operation on his knee, but the main thing is he can only comeback to international cricket if he proves his fitness by playing in domestic matches," Qadir said.
In 2009 so far, Shoaib has played two one-dayers against Sri Lanka, conceding 88 runs in 13 overs for one wicket, which prompted his exclusion from the series decider. Since February 2006, he has played just three Tests and 11 ODIs.
Shehzad, a part of the Under-19 squad for the World Cup in Malaysia last year, was called up to the Pakistan Test squad recently but did not get a game. Aamer, Shehzad's U-19 team-mate, is a promising young talent who has been singled out for praise by former captain Wasim Akram. Akram had earmarked Aamer as a future talent during a fast bowlers' camp in May 2007. Aamer's 55 wickets at 15.05 from nine Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches have earned him his first international call-up. Yasir, 22, was a key figure in helping North-West Frontier Province win this season's RBS Pentangular Cup even though he has not featured heavily in the four-day format.
The squad includes Shahid Afridi and Iftikhar Anjum, who was left out for the two Tests against Sri Lanka, as well as Sarfraz Ahmed, named as a backup wicketkeeper to Kamran Akmal. The opener Nasir Jamshed, who last played in the Asia Cup in Pakistan last year, has also been recalled.
Yasir Hameed was among the nine reserves named for the tour.
Younis Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal (wk), Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Aamer, Yasir Arafat, Yasir Shah, Iftikhar Anjum, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk).