Pakistan selectors included Shoaib Akhtar among five fast bowlers in its 15-man squad for this month's limited-overs cricket series against the West Indies. Pacemen Rao Iftikhar, Umar Gul, Abdul Rauf and Sohail Tanvir were named alongside Akhtar on Monday for the three one-day internationals to be played in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates from Nov. 12-16.
Akhtar impressed the selectors with his fitness and form displayed during the on-going Pentangular Cup domestic competition, where he claimed four wickets for just 14 runs from 10 overs on Sunday against Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik's Punjab team. "It's an experienced side and we have kept India's tour to Pakistan in mind," chief selector and former test fast bowler Salim Jaffar told the Associated Press.
India is scheduled to tour Pakistan for three test matches and five one-day internationals in January.
Pakistan's middle-order will revolve around experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf, who returns to the side after missing a four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Toronto last month due to delays in obtaining a visa.
The team was selected after consultation with Malik and newly appointed coach Intikhab Alam, who replaced Australian Geoff Lawson. "The team was selected after giving due consideration to the opinions of both captain and the coach," Jaffar said. Pakistan has not played a test match in 2008 after Australia refused to tour in March due to security concerns. The scheduled Champions Trophy limited-overs tournament was also postponed for security reasons.
"It's unfortunate that we didn't play a test match this year, but hopefully the players will be tuned up with this short series against the West Indies before we take on India," Jaffar said. Pakistan has a minor fitness scare with opening batsman Nasir Jamshed recovering from malaria, and Jaffar said Khalid Latif will replace the left-handed opener if needed.
"Hopefully he will pass the fitness test and accompany the squad to Abu Dhabi," Jaffar said.
Shoaib Malik (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Fawad Alam, Abdul Rauf, Saeed Ajmal. Reserves: Sohail Khan, Yasir Arafat, Khalid Latif.