Afridi, Tanvir dropped for Lanka Test opener

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Pakistan's national selection committee axed all-rounder Shahid Afridi and pacer Sohail Tanvir from the 15-member squad for the first Test against Lanka.

Updated: February 18, 2009 13:51 IST
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Pakistan's national selection committee on Wednesday axed flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi and pacer Sohail Tanvir from the 15-member squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka preferring to give rookie players Ahmed Shahzad and Mohammad Talha a chance.

The decision to drop Afridi from the squad was hardly a surprise considering that he has struggled for form in recent months despite being a regular member of the one-day squad.

But the decision to sideline left-arm pacer Tanvir comes as a surprise as after a poor one-day series against Sri Lanka, he bounced back well in domestic cricket.

The first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka would be played from Saturday at the National Stadium.

Chief selector Abdul Qadir said the decision to drop Afridi did not mean he was completely out of contention for the series.

"He is a very senior player and it was a very difficult decision to drop him. But we didn't want a situation where he was in the 15-member squad and not picked in the final playing eleven. It would have been humiliating for a senior player like him," Qadir said.

He said fast bowler Mohammad Talha and opener Shahzad deserved a chance as both had been doing well in domestic cricket.

"We need to look for some new faces to expand our choices for Test and one-day cricket and Talha is a genuine pace bowler," Qadir said.

Qadir said Shahzad was included in the squad because he had batted well against Sri Lanka in the two-day warm up match scoring a hundred.

"He is not certain to play but he deserved to be in the squad," he said.

Qadir said the decision to drop Tanvir and Afridi was taken in consultation with the team management.

"We had an extended debate on some players with the team management but we have tried to incorporate their views and select players with consensus," Qadir said.

The selectors have recalled left-handed batsman Asim Kamal, who last played a Test against England in 2005 while also retaining former captain Shoaib Malik.

Pakistan squad:

Younis Khan (Capt), Misbah-ul-Haq, Salman Butt, Khurrum Manzoor, Ahmed Shahzad, Faisal Iqbal, Shoaib Malik, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam, Kamran Akmal, Danish Kaneria, Sohail Khan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Yasir Arafat.

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