The Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday announced a new selection criteria for its bowlers, saying only those, who have played at least two first class matches in a season would be eligible for selection in the national team.
PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf said the decision has been taken keeping in mid the growing fitness related problems of their bowlers.
"We have taken a policy decision in view of the growing number and frequent fitness problems with our bowlers that they would only be considered for national selection after they have played a minimum of two first class games in a season to prove their match fitness," he said.
Ashraf said Shoaib Akhtar, who has been ignored in the list of probables for the Zimbabwe tour, was not dropped because of any disciplinary reasons but purely because the selectors and Board wanted to be 100 percent sure of his match fitness.
"Once he plays in at least two first class games in the Pentangular tournament in February he will be considered for the Australian home series if he proves his match fitness."
Ashraf said Umar Gul, who is nursing a back injury, had been advised to rigorously follow a six-weeks rehabilitation programme.
"Gul has been asked to report to the national cricket academy and follow the program to regain full match fitness. We want him, Shoaib and Mohammad Asif all to be available for the Australian series.
"But we can't have unfit bowlers upsetting the team plans anymore," Ashraf said.
Gul had to return from India without playing a Test because of a back problem, when the team visited the neighbouring country recently.
Ashraf said Asif, who has undergone an elbow operation in Australia, was recovering well but the new criteria applies to him as well.
"But even he has to first play two first class games at the domestic level and prove his match fitness. Than we will allow the selectors to consider him for the next series," he said.