Pakistan off to England <i>sans</i> Intikhab, Akmal
Pakistan on Monday left out coach Intikhab Alam and wicketkeeper batsman Kamran Akmal from their 14-man side to face England in two Twenty20 matches.
There is speculation Alam will be sacked over Pakistan's humiliating 3-0 Test and 5-0 one-day series whitewash in Australia last month, but a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official denied he had been dismissed.
"Alam is not sacked," PCB chief operating officer Wasim Bari told AFP.
"There is no decision on Alam's future as yet, but it will be taken subsequently," he added.
PCB has ordered a six-man evaluation committee to look into why Pakistan was routed in Australia, summoning Alam, team manager Abdul Raqeeb and captain Mohammad Yousuf to appear for questioning on Friday and Saturday.
Chief selector Iqbal Qasim has already resigned following the defeat in Australia, refusing to reverse his decision despite a request from the PCB.
A panel of four selectors, without any chief selector, chose the team for the two Twenty20 matches, said Bari.
"Akmal is our main player and since we want to groom other players as well we have rested Akmal," said Bari. Akmal was criticised for poor wicketkeeping in Australia, dropping several important catches.
Shoaib Malik, sacked as captain in January last year after Pakistan's 2-1 home series defeat against Sri Lanka, will lead the team in the Twenty20 matches, to be played in Dubai on February 19 and 20.
Pakistan's original Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi will be part of the squad but cannot play in the first match following a ban of two Twenty20 international matches for ball-tampering.
Afridi was caught on television cameras biting the ball during the fifth and final one-day international against Australia at Perth, which is against the rules of the game.
Pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir are also not part of the team. Aamir is recovering from a groin injury and Asif was not considered after UAE authorities refused to revoke travelling restrictions imposed on him.
Asif was deported from Dubai in June 2008 after he was found in possession of opium. He was detained for 19 days.
The squad includes promising pacemen in Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Talha.
Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Umer Akmal, Shoaib Malik (captain), Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Sarfraz Ahmad, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Arafat, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Talha.