Pakistan announced their 15-man World Cup squad on Wednesday, leaving out Fawad Alam and Umar Gul and including pace bowler Sohail Khan who last played international cricket in 2011.
Veteran batsman Younis Khan, who hit a purple patch in Test cricket but was mediocre in the recent ODIs against New Zealand, was also included in the squad.
Left-hand middle-order batsman Fawad Alam, who has been Pakistan’s most reliable ODI batsman of late, will feel unlucky to have missed out, the selectors instead preferring another player in similar mould, Haris Sohail.
“We did consider both of them [Fawad and Malik], but in the end we believe Haris Sohail bowled well in the series against New Zealand with his left-arm bowling,” chief selector Moin Khan said.
“He also gives us an added advantage of being a left-handed batsman.”
Fast bowler Junaid Khan also returned from a knee injury after missing the series against New Zealand, and will lead Pakistan’s pace attack with Mohammad Irfan.
Pakistan, placed in Group B, will open its campaign with a highly-charged clash against arch-rivals and defending champions India in Adelaide on February 15 followed by matches against the West Indies, Zimbabwe, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Ireland.
The top four teams from each of the two groups will qualify for the quarter-finals, leading up to the final in Melbourne on March 29.
Khan said the team was selected after consultation with Misbah and coach Waqar Younis.
“We selected the squad after thorough consultation… and although no one can give assurances of results, we are hopeful that the team will do well,” said Khan, a member of Pakistan’s only World Cup winning side in Australia in1992.
Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz ahmed, Younis Khan, Harris Sohail, Misbah ul Haq, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz