Ex-Pak skipper justifies exclusion of Afridi, Akmal from Champions Trophy squad
Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammed has supported the exclusion of all-rounder Shahid Afridi and batsman Umar Akmal from the ICC Champions Trophy squad, saying that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is completely justified in its action.
The decision to not select the previously talismanic figure of Shahid Afridi was a real point of contention, with discussions continuing for a long time between PCB Chairman Mohammad Zaka Ashraf and Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Although he admitted that both Afridi and Akmal are talented and have expressed their ability on the international stage many times in the past, however Mohammed said that their exclusion from the squad is justified as they have failed to prove themselves repeatedly in the past, adding that there is always significant competition for places in the Pakistan team.
Stating that Afridi`s lack of ability to strike with the ball is a consequence of his age, Mohammed added that the all rounder is getting old, which has made it necessary to bring young players in his place.
Meanwhile, Mushtaq emphasized the importance of experienced off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in the sqiuad, saying that although the Pakistani bowling attack is strong, but is primarily founded on the skill of Ajmal, adding that the off-spinner offers a significant degree of control as well as being a prime wicket-taking option.
Spinners have been vital in exerting control in the middle overs, a key aspect of Misbah-ul-Haq`s limited-overs strategy, and one that South Africa were able to negotiate with relative ease in the ODI series a few months ago.
However, Mohammed expressed concerns at the ageing squad, saying that the likes of Misbah and some other older players should be making way for younger players, with the exception of Shoaib Malik, who, he said, brings good skills to the team.