Misbah, Hafeez retained, Irfan dropped from Pak squad
Karachi: Pakistan retained under-fire skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and out-of-form Muhammad Hafeez but dropped tall left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan from 28-man probables list for the two-Test series against South Africa.
The selectors also left out experienced openers Imran Farhat and Taufiq Umar.
Misbah won the confidence of the Board despite coming under severe criticism after Pakistan lost a One-day and a Test to lowly ranked Zimbabwe on the recent tour.
The selectors after long deliberations with captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, head coach Dav Whatmore and manager Moin Khan came out with the probables list.
The selectors did not recall experienced all-rounders Shoaib Malik or Abdul Razzaq although both of them had met with caretaker PCB Chairman Najam Sethi last week to convey their grievances at being sidelined by the selectors.
"The selectors have basically sent them a message that they consider Malik and Razzaq fit only for limited overs cricket," a source said.
He said that in the meeting there were long discussions on whether to include Hafeez who has had a miserable time in Tests this year averaging only 12 in 10 innings.
"Hafeez has been given a lifeline because Misbah and Whatmore have lot of faith in him and believe he can play a vital role with his bowling in the Tests as well against South Africa," source said.
Hafeez will get a three-day match between the Pakistan team and Pakistan A side to be played in Lahore from October 2 to 4 while the national camp for the probables will begin from September 30.
The selectors have also appointed young batsman Umar Amin as captain of the Pakistan A team that will play a three-day match against SA from October 7 in Dubai.
"Amin will also lead the Pakistan A side in the match against the national team," the board said.
Another source said that Moin had attended the meeting as the acting chief selector. In all probability the Test careers of Imran Farhat and Taufiq were over as Misbah and Whatmore insisted on trying out new pairs for the SA test series.
The selectors have picked Khurrum Manzoor, Hafeez, Ahmed Shahzad and uncapped Shan Masood as the three openers.
Probables: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Shan Masood, Ahmed Shahzad, Muhammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faisal Iqbal, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Umar Amin, Rahat Ali, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadir, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan, Yasir Shah, Ehsan Adil, Ahmed Jamal, Akbar-ur-Rehman , Imran Khan and Muhammad Rizwan.
Pakistan A team for three-day match against SA: Umar Amin (C), Ahmed Shahzad, Azhar Ali, Faisal Iqbal, Asad Shafiq, Ehsan Adil, Ahmed Jamal, Akbar-ur-Rehman , Imran Khan and Muhammad Rizwan, Usman Qadir, Yasir Shah, Sohaib Maqsood, Aizaz Cheema.