Razzaq given glimmer of hope for South Africa seriesT

Razzaq’s last appearance for Pakistan was October 2012 against Australia at the World Twenty20. PHOTO: AFP

Razzaq’s last appearance for Pakistan was October 2012 against Australia at the World Twenty20. PHOTO: AFP

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, KARACHI, 19th SEPTEMBER 2013: Abdul Razzaq is back in contention and could be in line to make a comeback in the national team after the sidelined all-rounder was included in the preliminary squad for the home series in the UAE against South Africa.

The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Selection Committee, following their meeting on Monday, handed a list of over 50 players to the board for acquiring their multiple visas for the back-to-back home series against South Africa and Sri Lanka in the Gulf country.

An official close to the selection committee confirmed that the list included all the current national cricketers as well as top domestic performers.

“The selection panel has included all the possible candidates,” the official told The Express Tribune.

“Razzaq is present in the list that also includes Shoaib Malik.

“The list will be later discussed for selection of the final squads for all the three formats. The purpose of forming the list was to avoid any visa hiccup at the eleventh hour.”

Razzaq’s inclusion among the probables holds significance as the senior all-rounder was never considered for selection following his omission from the Twenty20 squad after the World T20 Championship in Sri Lanka last year.

He was fined after the event by the PCB for his media outburst against Mohammad Hafeez, accusing the national T20 captain for sidelining him in the semi-final.

The selectors maintained that the all-rounder’s absence from domestic competitions was the reason for his snub.

However, Razzaq, a veteran of 265 One-Day Internationals and 30 Twenty20s, emerged on the scene with the Ramazan cricket tournaments last August and announced that he will continue his pursuit of making a comeback into the team.

“I have shown my availability to the selectors for the South Africa series,” Razzaq told reporters yesterday.

“I am hoping for a comeback in the series. I am fit and will continue my training to get in best shape before the series. I am working hard but my inclusion depends on the selectors.”

Meanwhile, the official said Razzaq will have to undergo an extensive fitness test to become eligible for selection as the committee hardly has any assessment about his form and fitness due to his absence from recent domestic events.

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