Inzamam names top contenders to replace unfit Akmal for Champions Trophy

“Every player is well-aware that fitness tests are conducted before each tour,” said Pakistan Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq. — AFP/File

Left-handed batsmen Haris Sohail and Umar Amin are the top contenders to replace dropped Umar Akmal for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England, Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said Monday.

Akmal was dropped from the Pakistan squad for the eight-team tournament and flown back home after he failed a fitness test.

“We’ll consider Haris (Sohail), Umar (Amin) and other players, who performed well during the Pakistan Cup as to replace Akmal,” said Inzamam.

Umar and Haris scored 296 and 236 runs in four and five Pakistan Cup appearances last month. Both southpaws have played for country earlier too.

According to ARY News sources, Haris and Umar, along with Asif Zakir are set to go through fitness tests on Tuesday.

Akmal, who failed to make it to the national side in their recently concluded tour of the West Indies, “regained his fitness in the (recently concluded) Pakistan Cup and was therefore selected for the Champions Trophy,” said Inzamam.

“He had to maintain that, which he failed to,” added the former batsman.

“Every player is well-aware that fitness tests are conducted before each tour.”

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan, while confirming Akmal’s oust from the squad on Sunday, said the national team follows ‘a strict policy of not carrying unfit players’.

Akmal has struggled to cement his place in the national side after making a good start to his international career in 2009. His career has been filled with issues ranging from discipline to fitness and under-performance.

Pakistan kick off their Champions Trophy campaign against arch-rivals India at Birmingham on June 4 followed by their clashes against South Africa and Sri Lanka on June 7 and 12 respectively.