Akmal, Butt dropped; Malik to lead Pak in England T20s

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibmalik1.jpg' class='caption'> Senior players Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt were shown the door while coach Intikhab Alam's fate remained unclear in a Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan team.

Updated: February 08, 2010 07:52 IST
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Senior players Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt were shown the door while coach Intikhab Alam's fate remained unclear in a Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan team, announced on Monday for the two Twenty20 Internationals against England in Dubai.

As expected after the disastrous tour of Australia, in which Pakistan were whitewashed in all three formats of the game, changes were made in the 14-member strong team for the matches against England to be played on February 19 and 20.

With regular Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi serving a two-match ban for ball tampering, Malik was named skipper.

Besides, Akmal and Butt, pacers Rao Iftikhar and Mohammad Asif, who has been barred from entering UAE after being caught carrying drugs on a previous visit, have also been dropped from the squad.

All-rounders Abdul Razzaq and Yasir Arafat have been recalled to the side.

The selectors have also included two young pace bowlers, Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Talha in the side to partner Umar Gul as left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamer is injured.

Surprisingly, the PCB has not retained Alam as coach and announced that former Test batsman Ejaz Ahmed will be the batting and fielding coach of the side for the Dubai series.

However, the board has not clarified whether Intikhab has been dropped from Pakistan coach's post only for these two matches or permanently although his contract with the PCB runs until October this year.

The PCB has also changed the manager of the side Abdul Raquib and recalled Yawar Saeed, who was removed from the capacity last year after the Champions Trophy following accusations of encouraging groupings in the side and creating disunity.

Clarifying why Asif's was excluded from the squad, PCB said their request for lifting the travel ban on the pacer was turned down by the authorities in Dubai.

Asif was detained for 19 days in Dubai in 2008 for possession of hashish. He was later released without any criminal charges but the authorities enforced the travel ban on him.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ejaz Butt ruled out any further action against Afridi, saying that the board cannot penalise him again for the same offence.

"We can't penalise him again as he has already been banned for two matches by the ICC. There is not doubt what he did was totally unacceptable and brought a bad name to the team," Butt said.

Squad: Shoaib Malik (Captain), Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Abdul Razzaq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Muhammad Talha, Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal.

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