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Axe falls on the Akmals

Karachi: Pakistan cricket selectors on Friday omitted all the Akmal brothers — Kamran, Umar and Adnan — for the forthcoming Test series against South Africa while recalling wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed to the 16-member squad.

Left-arm spinner, Abdul Rehman, who has just completed a three-month ban for a positive dope test in English county cricket and middle-order batsman, Faisal Iqbal, were also recalled to the squad which leaves on January 20.

The selectors also called up rookie pacer Ehsan Adil for the tour while naming only four pacers.

The selection of pacers Umar Gul, Mohammed Irfan and Junaid Khan was a foregone conclusion after their brilliant bowling on the tour of India.

The decision to retain none of the Akmal brothers came as a surprise as the experienced Kamran and his younger brother Adnan were top contenders for the wicketkeeper’s job.

The selectors have picked three specialist openers, Nasir Jamshed, Taufiq Umar and Mohammed Hafeez.

As expected, Misbah-ul-Haq, has been retained as captain.

Meanwhile, Umar Akmal has been cautioned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) against reacting to criticism, after he hit back at some former players who had questioned his commitment in the one-day series in India.

Umar shot back at his critics after Pakistan's former captains Rashid Latif, Moin Khan and some others said they were disappointed by the youngster's attitude.

Latif had also advised the national selectors to drop Umar from the team and send him back to domestic cricket until he improved his attitude and approach to the game.

Umar got out at a critical time in the third and final one-day International against India in New Delhi last Sunday, resulting in a narrow defeat for his team and leading to criticism about his failure to finish off the job.

Umar had claimed that the criticism against him was not correct. “The criticism is unfair because I tried to put my head down and bat responsibly in the match. In fact, in the recent matches, I have tried to curb my natural batting style and show more responsibility and spend time at the crease,” Umar had said.

He also said that it was never easy for a player, dropped from the playing XI after one or two matches, to come back and perform properly. “I always take such decisions on the chin and try to give my best, but it is not easy. But I try to give my 100 per cent,” he had said. (Agencies)