Flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi and batsman Umar Akmal were the prominent names to be axed from the 15-member Pakistan cricket squad announced for the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim announced the squad on Monday in Lahore after lengthy
deliberations although the selectors had finalised it last week and submitted it to the board chairman for approval.
At the end of the day, it transpired that the selectors made two changes to their submitted squad replacing injured middle-order batsman Haris Sohail with Umar Amin and preferring to pick left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz over Aizaz Cheema.
The rest of the squad remained the same and Qasim said that Afridi was dropped because of his recent poor bowling form.
"Afridi's bowling has not been up to the mark in recent matches. He has not taken wickets and his primary role in the team is that of a bowler," Qasim told a press conference.
The same set of players with the addition of a few more are expected to get the central contracts for the year 2013.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also announced that Australian Trent Woodhill would be the batting coach of the team for the Champions Trophy and would join them in England.
Woodhill is presently on the coaching staff of the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL.
On Monday, the two major exclusions remained Afridi and Umar, who went to South Africa for the recent one-day series, and the inclusion of uncapped pacer Asad Ali.
Asad has toured with Pakistan on recent tours to India and South Africa without getting a chance to play any match.
The source said selectors relied on experience after consulting the captain and coach.
Qasim said Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil and Wahab are the five pacers selected in the squad while the spin department will be handled by Abdul Rehman and Saeed Ajmal.
"The selectors have also given a final warning to senior pros Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal to gear up and perform or consider the Champions Trophy their last tour with the national team," he said.
Interestingly Afridi was also given a similar warning when the squad was announced for the one-day series in South Africa but he went wicketless.
Pakistan will play one-day series in Scotland and Ireland in May before going to England for the Champions Trophy.
This will be their first visit to England since the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and they are placed with South Africa, India and West Indies in their group.
Pakistan squad: Nasir Jamshed, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Misbah-ul-Haq (Capt), Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil and Wahab Riaz.
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