Pakistan middle-order batsman Umar Akmal has lost his place in the Champions Trophy squad after failing two fitness tests in England, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said. The selectors are now considering Umar Amin or Haris Sohail as a replacement. Pakistan open their campaign against India on June 4.
"He has failed two fitness tests during the ongoing camp there in England ahead of Champions Trophy," the PCB chairman told ESPNcricinfo. "So since we have a policy not to carry unfit players, it has been decided to call him back and send a replacement. We have a deadline until May 25 so we are deliberating on the possible replacements."
It is not the first time that Akmal had been dropped from the team on fitness grounds. After being left out for the West Indies tour, he was recalled to the ODI squad for the Champions Trophy after proving his fitness during the Pakistan Cup in Rawalpindi.
Fitness has become a top priority for Pakistan with the PCB asking the selectors and the team management to drop even senior players who don’t follow the process. "We had a set a fitness standard which isn't really a tough one to start with," chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said. "But he still didn't meet the average level. So whoever the player is, whatever his performance is like, we could not select him. Akmal being dropped is a reprimand and it's a major blow for any player. He is a good player, we needed him, but we had to take a decision."
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