Karachi: Batsmen Shoaib Malik and Azhar Ali, and pace bowler Sohail Tanvir have been put on standby in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, to be held from February 14 in Australia and New Zealand.
A source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that after discussions with the chief selector Moin Khan and team management in New Zealand, three players were told that their services might be required by the team during the World Cup, if need arose.
"Malik, Azhar and Tanvir have been told to be on standby so that if some players have fitness issues in World Cup, the team management wants to be sure they can get quick replacements if required," the source told PTI.
He said either Malik or Azhar would accompany Tanvir if the need arose. All three are presently performing well in the ongoing national one-day cup.
"The tour selection committee has given its consent for these players but will let the board know about the final two names when required," he added.
There have been apprehensions that the tour selection committee might call up some replacements as question marks hang over the fitness of some players who are picked in the World Cup squad.
The source said Sohaib Maqsood, Ehsan Adil and Wahab Riaz were facing some fitness niggles and were being tested in New Zealand before the World Cup.
"Malik and Azhar are both on the standby list as they can also bowl," the source added.
Paceman Bilawal Bhatti has already joined the team in New Zealand after left-arm pacer Junaid Khan, who was selected in the World Cup squad, was left behind as he had suffered a hamstring injury while bowling in the training camp in Lahore.
The source said the tour selection committee had made it clear that Junaid should only be sent when he was 100 per cent fit and cleared by the medical panel of the board.
"He is presently in a rehabilitation process and resting," he said.