Veteran batsman and former skipper Younis Khan has been included in Pakistan's 15-man squad for ICC World Cup 2015. Mohammad Hafeez, whose bowling action is under the scanner, has been included in the team to be led by Misbah-ul-Haq. Pakistan play their first match against India in Adelaide on February 15. (No Yuvraj, Jadeja, Binny picked in India squad for World Cup)
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Mohammad Khan approved the squad for World Cup 2015 after it was picked by a six-member selection committee headed by Moin Khan after consultations with head coach Waqar Younis and skipper Misbah ul Haq. (Michael Clarke's recovery 'ahead of schedule' for World Cup)
"This is the best possible squad from the available resources, and the selectors believe it has the requisite talent and skill-set to recapture the World Cup Down Under after 22 years", said Moin.Â There was no place for former captain Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Saeed Ajmal, whose bowling action has not been cleared by the ICC. (Martin Crowe predicts New Zealand vs South Africa final)
The squad contains two openers, four middle order batsmen, five pace bowlers, one spinner, two all-rounders and a wicket-keeper/batsman. Moin said the focus was on preferring specialists over bits-and-pieces players. Shahid Afridi will be one of the key players.
Unlike India where the BCCI gags the selection committee, Moin explained the four factors that dictated selection. Suitability to play in conditions in Australia and New Zealand; performance in international contests; performance in domestic cricket and preference to the choices suggested by captain and head coach, were taken into consideration, Moin said.
Â The squad has eight players who played in the last World Cup, while the remaining seven have been picked after their recent form impressed the selectors. On Tuesday, India picked four players who played the last World Cup played in the sub-continent in 2011.
Â "Despite a recent poor run of form in limited-overs cricket, in my mind, there's no doubt on the capability of this side to excel in the World Cup.
"It indeed is a formidable unit, with the potential and natural flair to perform well at the ICC's premier global showpiece event. And if the boys hit form individually and as combinations and peak at the right time, this bunch has the capacity to go all the way to the winners' podium," Moin said in Lahore.
Â 15-member squad: 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Ehsan Adil 3. Mohammad Hafeez 4. Haris Sohail 5. Mohammad Irfan 6. Junaid Khan 7. Misbah-ul-Haq (captain) 8. Sarfraz Ahmed (wk) 9. Shahid Afridi 10. Sohaib Maqsood 11. Sohail Khan 12. Umar Akmal 13. Wahab Riaz 14. Yasir Shah 15. Younis Khan.
Â Team Management: Manager: Naveed Akram Cheema; Head Coach: Waqar Younis; Batting Coach: Grant Flower; Spin Bowling Coach: Mushtaq Ahmed; Fielding Coach: Grand Luden; Physio/Trainer: Brad Robinson; Assistant Coach: Shahid Aslam; Media Manager: Agha Akbar; Security officer: Col. (Retd) Muhammad Azam Khan; Analyst: Talha Butt
(With inputs from Yusra Askari)