Khalil replaces Junaid in Pakistan squad for Bangladesh ODIs

Mohammad Khalil managed to impress the selectors after taking nine wickets in an innings in one domestic match this season Getty Images

Lahore: Nov 25, 2011

Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Khalil will join the national cricket team as a replacement for injured Junaid Khan in Bangladesh for the One-day series, kicking off with a Twenty20 next week.

Junaid, who tore a stomach muscle during the fourth One-day International, and allrounder Abdul Razzaq who sustained a shoulder injury, were both ruled out of the tour to Bangladesh and returned home from the UAE for rehabilitation and treatment.

Though Khalil was called to replace Junaid, the selectors have not announced any replacement for Razzaq yet.

“Khalil has been picked primarily because he is a left-arm pacer like Junaid and he has been performing well in domestic cricket for Zarai Taraqyati Bank (ZTBL),” a selector said.

Interestingly, ZTBL until last month was headed by Zaka Ashraf, who is now the Chairman of the PCB.

“In the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy division one championship, Khalil is a leading wicket-taker with 45 dismissals, so he deserved a call up,” the selector insisted.

The 29-year-old Khalil, who last represented Pakistan in March 2005 in a Test match at Kolkata where he bowled 23 wicketless overs for 103 runs, was written off as one of those players who were fortunate to play for Pakistan.

Stating that he has unfinished business to take care of, Khalil said that he would be taking the tour of Bangladesh seriously and would like to make an impact.

“I’m just so excited at the recall. It’s been a long six years since I last played for Pakistan and I’m so pleased to be back in the international reckoning. It was in my heart to play for my country again as I felt that I have unfinished business to complete,” he told the Pakpassion.net website.

Despite Pakistan being clear favourites, Khalil refused to underplay the importance of the series against Bangladesh.

“In international cricket you cannot write off anyone. It would be foolish to underestimate Bangladesh, especially in their home conditions. The Bangladeshis are international cricketers and they like to take great pride in their performances.

“If I’m given a chance I won’t let anyone down and I am very keen to impress my teammates, the coach and the selectors,” he said.

Khalil managed to impress the selectors after taking nine wickets in an innings in one domestic match this season.

“I’ve not changed anything technically with my bowling. When you have done the hard yards in Pakistani domestic cricket, there isn’t much left to learn as a quick bowler.

Last season I was the second highest wicket taker in the Quaid E Azam Trophy and I’ve just started this season from where I left last time around,” Khalil said.

Questions have been raised by some former players as to why the selectors didn’t fall back on Wahab Riaz, also a left-arm pacer with plenty of experience for playing for Pakistan and with strong performances under his belt.

Apparently the board is not willing to say much on Wahab’s continued exclusion, but Khalil’s recall has once again proved that his omission is related to his name being mentioned in the spot-fixing trial of the three Pakistani players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir — in London. (PTI)