Asif recalled, Razzaq axed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has recalled paceman Mohammad Asif but left out allrounder Abdul Razzaq from the 15-man squad for next month’s Champions Trophy.

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday named Asif, who has been the subject of a succession of drug-related controversies. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fined Asif $12,150 after Dubai authorities last year found substance containing opium in his possession and detained him for 19 days.

Asif was also banned for a year for failing a doping test during the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and his ban will end on September 22 — the day the Champions Trophy begins in South Africa. He proved his fitness to selectors at a training camp.

The selectors also recalled Rana Naved as the allrounder had terminated his contract with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL). Pakistan is pitted against India, Australia and the West Indies, while the other group is made up of New Zealand, South Africa, England and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group qualifies for the semi-final.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the best available team selected for the mega event,” chief selector Iqbal Qasim said in Lahore while announcing the squad. The selectors stuck with the batting line-up that performed poorly against Sri Lanka in recent Test and one-day series.

The experienced batting quartet of Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan forms the basis of the batting line-up along with 19-year-old Umar Akmal, who scored a century against Sri Lanka in the one-day series.