Batsman-wicket-keeper Umar Akmal was sent home from their Birmingham base due to fitness issues while the ugly topic of spot-fixing has reared its head again with Mohammad Nawaz being suspended.
On the field, millions of Pakistani fans will be hoping their team can produce a performance of merit against arch-rivals India in their Champions Trophy Group B opener (June 4 at Edgbaston), before contests against South Africa (June 7 at the same venue) and Sri Lanka (June 12 at Sophia Gardens).
Pakistan will be led by Sarfraz Ahmed in the tournament while key men include pace duo Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz.
Sport360’s Stuart Appleby is joined by cricket expert Ajit Vijaykumar to discuss how Pakistan will fare.
The Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday said it had seized bat grips given to Khalid Latif by a bookmaker which the Islamabad United opener was allegedly supposed to use to indicate he would participate in a spot-fix.
The 31-year-old batsman stands accused of attempting to spot-fix, accepting an offer by a bookmaker which he did not report, and luring other players into the conspiracy.
His case is currently being heard by a three-member tribunal convened to adjudicate on the scandal which emerged during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the United Arab Emirates in February and March.
Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan and spinner Mohammad Nawaz have already been banned for six months with six suspended, and one month with one suspended, respectively and fined after they confessed to failing to report meetings with bookmakers.
Khalid and three other players — Sharjeel Khan, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed — are also provisionally suspended on various charges and face bans ranging from five years to life if found guilty.
“One (piece) of … evidence is that we seized the bat grips that (a) bookie had given and they were seized from Khalid’s kit bag,” PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi told reporters.
Spot-fixing involves attempting to determine the outcome of a specific part of a match rather than the overall result, and is therefore harder to detect than match-fixing.
Khalid did not feature in Islamabad United’s opening game of the league, against Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on February 9 but is said to have passed on the grip to Sharjeel Khan.
Sharjeel is alleged to have played two dot balls — balls from which a batsman does not score — according to a pre-determined plan.
Rizvi added that Khalid had met the bookmaker twice but failed to report the meeting.
On Thursday the head of International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit Sir Ronnie Flanagan told the tribunal that Britain’s National Crime Agency had provided the initial tip-off about fixing attempts in the PSL.
Khalid’s lawyer Badar Alam meanwhile contested the neutrality of the tribunal on the grounds that one of its members was a former PCB chairman.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi will return to Hampshire for a third spell after signing for this season’s NatWest T20 Blast.
The 37-year-old, a big-hitting batsman and dangerous leg-spinner who had spells at the Ageas Bowl in 2011 and 2016, played 27 Tests, 398 one-day internationals and 98 Twenty20s during a glittering career for Pakistan.
Here, we take a look at five of his best international performances.
102 against Sri Lanka (ODI) in Nairobi, October 4, 1996
Aged 16 years and 217 days, Afridi shot to stardom by crashing the fastest one-day international century – from just 37 balls – in his first format innings. The right-hander justified the decision to elevate him to number three by smashing six fours and 11 sixes in his 102, helping Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 82 runs.
The record was in place for more than 17 years until New Zealander Corey Anderson required just 36 deliveries to reach the milestone on New Year’s Day in 2014.
141 against India (Test) in Chennai, January, 1999
Despite transforming into a limited-overs specialist for Pakistan, 18-year-old Afridi proved his Test credentials by following a five-wicket haul on his debut with a century in his second match.
Opening the innings, Afridi displayed the type of concentration and patience that he often lacked in one-day cricket, batting for more than five hours for 141 from 191 deliveries to inspire Pakistan to a 12-run victory over rivals India.
102 against India (ODI) in Kanpur, April 15, 2005
Afridi continued his century-making against India by producing another sensational knock, this time taking 45 balls to reach an ODI hundred.
He blasted 10 fours and nine sixes, hitting 102 of an opening stand of 131 with Salman Butt in 14.2 overs, to set the platform for a successful chase of 250 to beat India and seal a series comeback win with one game to spare.
54 not out against Sri Lanka (T20I) at Lord’s, June 21, 2009
Having struck a half-century and taken two for 16 during a narrow win over South Africa in the 2009 World Twenty20 semi-finals, Afridi steered his side to glory in the final at Lord’s. The leg-spinner was again economical with the ball, taking one wicket for just 20 runs in four overs, before guiding Pakistan home in their chase of 139 with 54 not out from 40 deliveries.
The victory ended Afridi’s wait for a major trophy with Pakistan after he played in the 1999 50-over World Cup final defeat to Australia and the inaugural World T20 showpiece loss against India in 2007.
76 and seven for 12 against West Indies (ODI) in Guyana, July 14, 2013
Afridi produced arguably his best all-round performance for Pakistan in Guyana in 2013. Not satisfied with a 55-ball 76 that propelled Pakistan to 224 for nine, the leg-spinner took the final seven wickets for just 12 runs in nine brilliant overs as the Windies were skittled for just 98.