Pakistan announce squad for Champions Trophy 2017, recall Umar Akmal

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Former Pakistan one-day worldwide captain Azhar Ali and wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal are back in the squad for June's Champions Trophy in England, the country's cricket board said yesterday.

Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal have been recalled to Pakistan's ODI team after their squad for the ICC Champions Trophy was announced on Tuesday.

Wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed leads the touring contingent which also features experienced names such as Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Azhar, who recently gave up captaincy after the tour of Australia, also lost his place in the side during the ODI series in West Indies. In his final series as the skipper, in Australia, Azhar managed scores of just 24, 7 and 6 as Pakistan succumbed to a series defeat - their second in five months.

The PCB National Selection Committee headed by Chief Selector Inzamam ul Haq selected the for the Champions Trophy to be played in England and Wales from June 1 to June 18 this year.

Kamran Akmal, who was the leading run-scorer and declared Man-of-the-Tournament during the Pakistan Super League, has once again been dropped.

Fahim Ashraf, 23 is the only player in the 15-man squad yet to put on an worldwide shirt in any format.

The decision appears unusual also in the sense that the only replacement that PCB could found for Kamran Akmal was his younger brother Umar Akmal, who got dropped from West Indies tour due to poor fitness.

Pakistan great Inzamam-ul-Haq said the squad was selected keeping in mind English conditions.

According to a statement, Umar has been included after "bringing considerable improvement in his fitness" and impressing in the ongoing domestic Pakistan Cup.

Watch the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy live on Sky Sports this summer - the action begins with England against Bangladesh on June 1. The top two sides from each group will qualify for the semi-final stage.