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Anwar, Nazir escape axe

Islamabad: Pakistan’s opening batsmen Saeed Anwar and Imran Nazir, likely to be removed from the Champions Trophy squad following a string of recent failures have escaped the axe following an ICC decision to disallow late changes.

“Discussions with the ICC were going on for some days as we wanted to make a couple of changes. But our request was spurned,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said Sunday.

Both Anwar and Nazir performed miserably during the tri-nation tournaments at Tangiers and Nairobi, which prompted the selectors to drop them for the Champions Trophy beginning in Colombo Thursday.

The ICC, however, allowed only one substitution, which resulted in allrounder Azhar Mahmood making way for Misbah-ul Haq, who was impressive with the bat in Nairobi.

Imran Farhat, set to replace Anwar, was asked to stay put in Lahore despite being booked on a flight to Colombo. Middle-order bat Yusuf Youhana, sent back from Nairobi following an altercation with skipper Waqar Younis, will join the squad in Colombo, as was announced earlier.

“According to rules, no changes can be made after the deadline for submission of teams. Changes are allowed only in case of injuries,” said the PCB spokesman. August 30 was the last date of finalising teams, he added.

Pakistan meet Sri Lanka in the opening match of the tournament Friday. Captain Waqar said the team’s poor show in Nairobi was history and promised a better performance, adds a report from Colombo. “All players are fit and we intend to give a good fight,” he said.

Waqar’s team, despite being outplayed by Australia in the two group league matches in Nairobi, shared the title with the world champions with the final being abandoned due to rain.

THE SQUAD

Waqar Younis (captain), Inzamam-ul Haq, Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Imran Nazir, Shoaib Malik, Yusuf Youhana, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul Haq, Rashid Latif, Abdul Razzaq, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Sami.

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