Umar Akmal continues to remain out of favour of Pakistan coach
Senior Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has been overlooked by the national selectors and head coach Mickey Arthur in the list of probables finalised to attend the training camp for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. According to reliable sources, the selection of two more senior players, Muhammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad in the Test squad is also unlikely.
"The selectors, Arthur and the PCB Director of Cricket, Haroon Rasheed recently held a meeting to finalise the list of players who will be invited to the training camp for the Sri Lanka series.
"Unfortunately the selectors and Arthur still feel that Umar needs more time to convince them he is ready for a national comeback," a source said.
Umar was initially picked in the Champions Trophy squad but later sent back home from England after failing a fitness test.
Even in April before the tour to the West Indies, the enigmatic batsman was not picked after failing a fitness test. His fitness and attitude have been a reason for concern for the PCB, selectors and team management.
Umar is presently in England training and undergoing a rehabilitation course to not only improve his fitness but also to overcome a knee problem.
The camp which will be set up from August 20 in Lahore is likely to also witness Hafeez and Shehzad restricted to only the ODI and T20 formats as the selectors and the head coach want to give another chance to left-handed opener Shaan Masood in the Tests.
Masood was dropped after the first Test in the West Indies in April this year.
The source said with the retirements of senior batsmen Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, the selection committee and management is now banking on youngsters Haris Sohail and Usman Salahuddin to fill in their slots in the Test squad.
"They are a couple of other young players the selectors are keeping an eye on like Imam-ul-Haq the nephew of chief selector, Inzamam ul Haq for the camp while it has been decided to also give a try to off-spinner Bilal Asif in Test and ODI formats," the source added.
The PCB dropped plans to have a boot camp in Kakul after around a dozen players including members of the Champions Trophy winning squad signed up to play in the Caribbean Premier League this month.
(With PTI Inputs)