Pakistan has recalled veteran Kamran Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad for the Twenty20 and one-day international series against the West Indies.
The 35-year-old Akmal played his last ODI against India in the Champions Trophy four years ago while his last T20 international was in 2014 against the West Indies at the World Twenty20.
Akmal forced his way back into international cricket after top-scoring with 353 runs in the recent Pakistan Super League which was eventually won by his team Peshawar Zalmi.
Shehzad had been sidelined from Pakistan’s limited-overs teams for a year, but since then the opening batsman has scored consistently in both domestic cricket and in the PSL.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Pakistan could benefit from Akmal’s twin roles as a batsman and as a backup wicketkeeper to Pakistan’s ODI and T20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
“We had been carrying two wicketkeepers for quite some time now and Kamran can do this job too,” Inzamam said of Akmal’s recall.
The other three top performers in the PSL – young all-rounder Shadab Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari and Fakhar Zaman – were also included for the T20 series. Shinwari will be replaced by another uncapped player, Fahim Ashraf, in the one-day series.
Akmal’s younger brother Umar couldn’t make it to the limited-overs squads after he failed the fitness test at the training camp in Lahore.
“He (Umar Akmal) was the only one who failed the fitness test among the 32 called up at the training camp,” Inzamam said.
The selectors also dropped Pakistan’s former ODI captain Azhar Ali while fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been rested for the T20 series but will play the three one-day internationals.
“Amir is our key bowler but he has been playing constantly since the tour of England last year,” Inzamam said. “We need him for the all-important ODI series against the West Indies.”
Pakistan doesn’t afford to slip lower than their present No. 8 ranking in the ODIs until ICC’s deadline of Sept. 30, otherwise it has to play the qualifying rounds for the 2019 World Cup.
The selectors finally gave uncapped Asif Zakir a chance in the ODIs after the veteran had been playing domestic cricket for the last 14 years.
Zakir is among five uncapped players selected for ODIs along with Shadab, batsman Fakhar Zaman, Ashraf and Mohammad Asghar.
The four-match T20 series begins from March 26 in Barbados while the three ODIs will be played in Guyana in between Apr. 7-11.
Twenty20 squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan Shinwari.
One-day squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Zakir, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Fahim Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Asghar.