KARACHI: Dented by the absence of bmatch-winning off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, who has been banned for illegal action, Pakistan today picked up a battery of five pace bowlers and two spinners for its squad for the cricket World Cup where it has been placed in the same qualifying group as India.
The selectors opted to repose faith on a young team ignoring senior players like Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Sami for the mega-event to be held in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
Considering the pacy wickets Down Under, the selectors have chosen five pacers -- Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz. Left-armer Yasir Shah and Shahid Afridi are the two spinners in the squad.
Ajmal, who has led Pakistan's attack in all three formats of the game since 2009, was suspended in September last after failing a test of his bowling action.
He subsequently withdrew from the squad claiming that his effectiveness had been lessened by the changes made to his action.
The six member selection committee, after intense deliberations with captain Misbah-ul-Haq and head coach Waqar Younis in Karachi, put its confidence in a bunch of young players to spearhead Pakistan's campaign.
Among the 15, batsmen Sohaib Maqsood and Haris Sohail and bowlers Junaid Khan, Muhammad Irfan, Sohail Khan, Ehsan Adil and Yasir Shah have yet to play in Australia or New Zealand.
"We have picked a balanced squad without any personal likes or dislikes and we considered all options without any grouses," chief selector, Moin Khan told a news conference at the national stadium.
He said the selectors had decided to lay faith in the youngsters keeping in mind the conditions, climate, opposition and travel schedule of the team in the World Cup.
Sohail Khan, a right-arm fast bowler, has appeared in just two Tests and five One-day internationals and his last appearance for Pakistan was in Zimbabwe in 2011 but he has been in outstanding form this domestic season for Port Qasim Authority.
"There was a close tie between Sohail and the experienced Muhammad Sami as the selectors felt the team required an out and out fast bowler for the conditions in Australia and New Zealand," one selector said.
Sohail took six wickets in a match of the ongoing Pentangular Cup on Tuesday in Karachi.