Nazir, Naved back in Pak ODI squad

ISLAMABAD: Opening batsman Imran Nazir and allrounder Rana Naved, both former players with the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL), returned to Pakistan’s squad today for the one-day series at Sri Lanka.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selected both the players in a 16-man squad for the five-match series that starts July 30. The PCB had barred the pair from representing Pakistan since 2007. The players have severed ties with the ICL. Opening batsman Salman Butt was dropped due to poor form, with Nasir Jamshed instead picked and looking to add to his 10 ODIs.

The squad also includes uncapped 19-year-old batsman Umar Akmal, younger brother of wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, after performing well for Pakistan “A” during the recent tour of Australia. Dambulla will host matches on July 30, August 1 and August 3, while two games will be held at Colombo on August 7 and August 9.

The only Twenty20 game will also be played in Colombo on August 12.

Akhtar left out, Asif gets recall

KARACHI: Pakistan on Wednesday left out Shoaib Akhtar from the 30-man preliminary squad for this year’s Champions Trophy after the controversial paceman failed to prove his fitness last week.

The 33-year-old was also omitted from a 16-man one-day squad for a five-match series against Sri Lanka starting next week. Akhtar was withdrawn from the World Twenty20 squad after coming down with “genital warts” and failed to pass a fitness test conducted last week.

But another controversial fast bowler, Mohammad Asif, was included as his one-year ban expires on September 22, the start of the Champions Trophy in South Africa. The ban was imposed after the 26-year-old failed a dope test in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League last year.—AFP