Pakistan recalls Azhar Ali & Umar Akmal for Champions Trophy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has recalled former captain Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal in the 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy in England.

Both batsmen were dropped for the one-day international series against the West Indies after Pakistan lost 4-1 in Australia this year. Azhar also quit the limited-overs captaincy and Sarfraz Ahmed was made the skipper.

Akmal couldn't pass the fitness test for the ODI series in the Caribbean, but chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the middle-order batsman has improved his fitness.

Akmal had also impressed in the ongoing Pakistan Cup, Inzamam said in a statement.

Azhar, who has batted at a strike rate of 75 in ODIs and scored 1,605 runs in 45 matches, will likely open with Ahmed Shehzad.

Pakistan's new spin sensation Shadab Khan, has also been selected ahead of Yasir Shah after the legspinner's impressive Twenty20 and ODI series against the West Indies.

Pakistan is in Group B of the Champions Trophy and opens against defending champions India on June 4.

South Africa and Sri Lanka are the others in the group, with the top two going to the semifinals.

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Faheem Ashraf.