Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi has been dropped from the one-day squad for the cricket teamâ€™s tour of India in December. Afridi did, however, retain his place in Pakistanâ€™s Twnty20 squad. Both rosters underwent six changes each from their previous squads.
Apart from Afridi, the players cut from the ODI squad that went to the UAE were: left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman, fast bowlers Aizaz Cheema and Sohail Tanvir and allrounder Shoaib Malik. Asad Shafiq was also left out because of injury. That group was replaced by Younis Khan, batsman Haris Sohail, fast-bowler Fahad Riaz, Umar Gul, and left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar. Sohail and Babar are making their first appearances on the one-day squad.
â€œDropping Afridi was a difficult decision,â€ Pakistanâ€™s chief selector Iqbal Qasim said at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. â€œHe is no doubt a great player and has the ability to win a game, but the decision has been taken in the interest of the team. We did retain him in the T20 squad and if he performs well he can win back his ODI place in the future. Meanwhile, we are looking for a youngster as Afridiâ€™s replacement and I am sure we will find the right man soon from the domestic circuit.â€
Pakistan lost the World Twenty20 semi-final to Sri Lanka and from that squad allrounders Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat, and opening batsman Imran Nazir were left out. Shafiq and left-arm spinner Raza Hasan were injured. Notable on the Twenty20 team was the inclusion of seven-foot tall Mohammad Irfan. Irfan had been selected in 2010 for an ODI series against England, but conceded 37 and 40 in first two matches and was dropped for the rest of the series. He has been on the domestic circuit since then and in this seasonâ€™s Presidentâ€™s Trophy, he took 27 wickets in eight matches. He also took 11 wickets in the Faysal Bank T-20.
â€œIrfan is a surprise package,â€ Qasim said, while explaining why Irfan was preferred over other notable performers. â€œNobody is discouraged, I know we have Ehsan Adil and Imran Khan on the bench waiting for the call but they will be considered soon. They are our future prospects. Irfan currently is in good form and he has the height advantage and could be our surprise package. I am sure he will live up to our expectations and will perform very well.â€
Pakistan are scheduled to play two Twenty20 international matches and three ODI matches in India from Christmas Day thru January 6th. Prior to that, the squad will assemble for a seven-day camp in Lahore.