Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has questioned the ground on which the Pakistan Cricket Board announced their 20-man shortlist for the England tour, saying that "there are 22 fast bowlers in the 20-member squad."
The Pakistan Cricket Board, on Tuesday, named a 20-man shortlist of players who will be considered for their three-match Test series against England, with batsman Fawad Alam on the verge of returning after 11 years. The selection committee, headed by Misbah-ul-Haq, added two specialist spinners in Kashif Bhatti and Yasir Shah, while all-rounders Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan were called into action as well.
Akhtar, however, expressed his discontent to an extent that he said the board is clueless about their plans in the series. Upon being asked about his team's possible line-up in the first Test, which begins on August 5, he said,
"That we don't know. They have announced a 20-member squad. In that twenty, there are around 22 fast bowlers. Let us see whom they select. Depends on the captain and the management, with which mindset they go in," said Akhtar on Geo Cricket.
"What they want and how the pitch is? How the management sees the whole scenario. Zero idea what they are going to do. When the team list comes, you will come to know the exact mindset they are going in with. So far as we know right now, nothing," he added.
The fast bowling options Pakistan have picked for the series are Naseem Shah, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Abbas, while the likes of Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan and Kashif Bhatti remain their spinners.
Akhtar further questioned the management's mindset as they head into the series, while also casting doubts on Azhar Ali's captaincy.
"I don't know if they are going with the mindset of going for a draw or to win. The captain or coach has to decide which fast bowler or spinner they want to go in with. I don't know which mindset they will go in with because I have not seen the aggression in Azhar Ali's captaincy. Once I see the bowlers in the team list, I will come to know if they are planning to win," said the Rawalpindi Express.
Pakistan are to play three Test matches between August 5 to Augst 25, and this will be followed by as many T20Is, running until September 1.
Squad: Azhar Ali (C), Babar Azam (VC), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Imam ul haq, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah.