Umar Akmal to return in Pakistan squad for Champions Trophy? - The Statesman

Umar Akmal to return in Pakistan squad for Champions Trophy?

Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal (Photo:

Enigmatic Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is expected to make a comeback in the Pakistan squad for the ICC Champions Trophy to be held in England in June.

After being dropped for the tour to the West Indies on fitness grounds, the national selectors and team management are now considering Umar for a berth in the Champions Trophy squad.

“Umar is a serious contender for a recall but his elder brother, Kamran Akmal is unlikely to be picked for the tournament as the selectors and management were not impressed with his efforts in the limited over matches in the West Indies, a well-informed source told PTI.


“Kamran got seven innings in the West Indies to make his mark but unfortunately he failed and the selectors are now contemplating bringing back Azhar Ali into the ODI side to open with Ahmad Shahzad,” the source added.

Kamran had earned a recall to the national team last month after being on the sidelines since April 2014.

The source said that Umar is a serious contender as the selectors wanted a power hitter option in the top and lower order.

“Umar has also worked on his fitness since being dropped and has led Punjab well in the ongoing Pakistan Cup ODI tournament,” he added.

Two rookie players who went to the West Indies for the ODI series and returned without playing a match, batsman Asif Zakir and all-rounder Fahim Ashraf are also expected to be given the axe for the Champions Trophy, a title Pakistan has never won since its inception in 1998.

The source said that another all-rounder Aamir Yamin, who is doing well in the Pakistan Cup, could instead be given the allrounder's role in England but the selectors are yet to make a final decision on his inclusion.

The selectors have to announce the 15-member Champion Trophy squad by the April 25 deadline.

If the selectors recall Azhar for the mega-event in which Pakistan faces India and South Africa in its opening two matches, it is a decision that is bound to come under debate since they had dropped him for the ODIs in West Indies after he stepped down as the captain just before the start of the Pakistan Super League in February.

“Azhar is likely to be included as he is a steady player and the selectors feel in English conditions he can be useful,” the source said.

Pacer Sohail Khan is also expected to get a recall for the Champions Trophy after being dumped for the West Indies tour apparently on fitness and disciplinary grounds.

Pakistan's probable Champions Trophy squad: Azhar Ali, Ahmad Shahzad, Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Muhammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Muhammad Aamir, Emad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Hassan Ali, Aamir Yamin, Fakhr Zaman.