KARACHI // Young opener Khurrum Manzoor replaced Nasir Jamshed in the Pakistan squad that arrived in Abu Dhabi today to play three one-day matches against the West Indies. Jamshed declared himself unfit for the tour hours before the team's departure as he had a high fever, having recently suffered a bout of malaria. "It is a good sign that Jamshed himself informed us he is not well and not 100 per cent fit for the series," the Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik told reporters before the team's departure.
"We are happy he has been honest with us as he had passed a fitness test yesterday and we thought he could play." Left-hander Jamshed has impressed since making his debut this year. Manzoor played in a one-day international against Zimbabwe earlier this year. Malik predicted a close series against the West Indians. "West Indies have just won the US$20 million (Dh73.4m) Stanford challenge match against England and they have some exciting young players but my team is keen to play and do well as they haven't had much opportunity this year for international cricket," Malik said.
Malik said the return of the fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar would be a big boost for the team, adding: "He has been working very hard on his fitness." Pakistan will be without senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf who has joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League but Malik said his absence should not be a problem. "We have a good one-day squad and players capable of making up for Yousuf no longer being there in the team," he said.
Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, Salman Butt, Khalid Latif, Khurrum Manzoor, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Fawad Alam, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Sohail Tanvir, Abdur Rauf, Saeed Ajmal. *Reuters