Islamabad: A poor run with the bat is almost set to cost Pakistani opener Saeed Anwar a place in the side for the ICC Champions Trophy tournament starting on Thursday in Colombo.
Pakistan could also miss the services of vice-captain Inzamam-ul Haq, who is injured, as well as Saqlain Mustaq. The off-spinner would not be available for selection as he sought time to spend with his sick and pregnant wife.
The Pakistan selectors took the decision to drop Anwar due to his poor performance in the last month’s triangular series in Morocco. The veteran opener also failed to impress in the Nairobi tri-series.
The selectors who held a telephonic meeting on Saturday, however, made it clear that the final decision to drop Anwar rests with the team management.
“Saturday’s development is that Saeed Anwar has to return. But let’s see if the tour team management agrees to our decision,” a selector said.
“Saeed lacks fitness and form. Besides, he is not mentally in the game. It was on these facts that we decided to pull him out to give him more time to recover his form for future endeavours,” a selector was quoted as saying by the local daily Dawn.
Anwar aggregated 151 runs from eight matches in Tangiers and Nairobi at 18.78, including a highest score of 70 against Sri Lanka in Tangiers.
The opening slot could go to left-hander Imran Farhat, who left for Colombo alongwith Yousuf Youhana Sunday to join the Pakistan team.
Middle-order batsman Misbah-ul Haq is likely to retain his place following the impressive performance in Nairobi.
The selector said they would decide about fate of Inzamam after getting a full report on his injury. Inzamam missed some matches in Nairobi due to injury but played Saturday against Australia in the final.
“There are chances that Inzamam might decide to seek permanent treatment for his injury at home,” PCB officials said.
Though the selectors decided to drop allrounder Azhar Mahmood, they reposed their faith on opener Imran Nazir.