REUTERS - Former Pakistan one-day international captain Azhar Ali and wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal are back in the squad for June’s Champions Trophy in England, the country’s cricket board said on Tuesday.
Azhar stepped down as captain in February and was eventually dropped from the squad after Pakistan’s 4-1 series defeat in Australia but the 32-year-old batsman has been recalled for the squad which will be led by his former deputy Sarfraz Ahmed.
Umar had also lost his spot after managing only 131 runs in the five-match series in Australia.
“Ali is making his comeback after looking at his track record in English conditions, and Umar Akmal has brought improvement in his fitness,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said.
“Shadab Khan and Fahim Ashraf are retained in the side to give the team variety in the shape of spin and fast bowling all-rounders, respectively.”
Kamran Akmal, the leading run scorer in the Pakistan Super League, is left out of the 15-strong squad after scoring just 68 runs in three ODIs against the West Indies earlier this month.
Pakistan are in Group B of the Champions Trophy and will begin the tournament against defending champions India on June 4, before facing South Africa on June 7 and Sri Lanka on June 12.
Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ian Chadband