Pakistan names uncapped off-spinner for Asia Cup
The Pakistan selectors named 30-year-old off-spinner Saeed Ajmal for the Asia Cup.cricket Updated: Jun 24, 2008 17:17 IST
The Pakistan cricket selectors on Sunday named uncapped 30-year-old off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in a 15-member squad for the Asia Cup.
"For a spinner age doesn't matter," chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said. "Ajmal took 50 wickets in the last domestic season and we thought it's the right time to give him a chance," he added. The chief selector was also impressed with Ajmal's ability to bowl "doosra" like ex-test off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. "Ajmal could spin the bowl away from the right-handed batsmen like Mushtaq used to do for us in the past and it's a very handy art," Ahmed said.
The three-day conditioning camp of the Pakistan team concluded Sunday and all-rounder Shahid Afridi was declared fit after injuring his wrist during the practice session.
Pakistan is placed in Group B and will play its opening match against Hong Kong Tuesday. India _ also placed in the same group _ will be arriving later Sunday.
The selection committee has already dropped out-of-form wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and has picked Sarfraz Ahmed. Pakistan had a minor scare after paceman Sohail Khan was ruled out due to malaria.
"Sohail Khan could have walked into the final squad but we have to give him rest because of illness," Ahmed said. Defending champion Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and United Arab Emirates are placed in Group A and will play their group matches in Lahore. The top two teams from each group advance to the next round, and after a round robin league the top two qualify for the July 6 final.
Shoaib Malik (captain), Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Sarfraz Ahmed, Rao Iftikhar, Nasir Jamshed, Wahab Riaz, Mansoor Amjad.