LAHORE - Pakistan’s 75 top cricketers, sans Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, M Asif and M Hafeez, are set to participate in the premier 50-over cricket activity - Pakistan Cup 2016 - that will roll into action in Faisalabad from April 19.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Tuesday picked up tainted player Salman Butt but they let Afridi, Wahab, Asif and Hafeez out. The Pakistan Cup is a five-team one-day tournament based on the draft system and included teams from the country’s four provinces and a Federal Capital side. Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Younus Khan, Azhar Ali and Misbah-Ul-Haq have been leading Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Federal Capital respectively.

The name of Shahid Afridi and Wahab Riaz were not included in the 167-player list out of which total 75 were selected by five teams while M Hafeez’ name was excluded later. According to a PCB official, Afridi and Wahab had already inform about their non-availability, therefore, there names were excluded from the 167-player list while Hafeez pulled out his name on Tuesday morning due to injury. “Afridi is going to perform Umrah while Wahab and Hafeez have been suffering from injuries that’s they were unavailable for the premier one-day tournament of the country,” he added.

Pacer M Asif was snubbed as he was not picked by a single team out of five during the drafts which were held here at a local hotel on Tuesday. “It just indicates that perhaps Asif needs to work harder to harbour hopes of an international comeback,” one of the coaches in the draft said. Asif, 33, was ranked as a top pacer with 106 wickets in 23 Tests and another 46 one-day international wickets before the ban was imposed on him.

Sindh picked up M Aamir and Punjab went for Salman Butt as their opening batsman. In order to promote young cricketers, each team had to pick one regional Under-19 player in their 15-man squad.

The revamped domestic one-day tournament Pakistan Cup has replaced the existing Pentangular Cup that will be conducted among four provincial and a federal team from April 19 in Faisalabad.

The format of the tournament will remain the same as the Pentangular Cup, but the process of picking players has been altered - the traditional selection process has been replaced with a draft system which allowed pre-announced captain and coaches to pick their 15-man squads from a 167-player list in 15 rounds.

PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi has suggested that the main agenda behind this tournament is to revive fan engagement in domestic cricket. “The tournament will help lift the prestige and brand of domestic cricket events.”

“Our public loves cricket and we are trying to further elevate our product. There is greater involvement of senior cricketers with the draft process in place. The players will also receive a 100 percent increase in remuneration and the support staff is very experienced. We are celebrating unity in diversity and I urge the fans to come and watch these matches in the stadium,” Sethi added.

SQUADS

PUNJAB

Salman Butt, Shan Masood, Asad Shafiq, Asif Ali, Akbar-ur-Rehman, M Rizwan (wk), Saad Nasim, Amir Yameen, Shoaib Malik (capt), Ehsan Adil, Amad Butt, Adnan Ghaus, Zulfiqar Babar, Saif Badar.

SINDH

Khurram Manzoor, Sami Aslam, M Waqas, Sohaib Maqsood, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Saad Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt), Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Bilal Asif, M Aamir, Sohail Khan, Ruman Raeez, Hassan Khan.

BALOCHISTAN

Azhar Ali (capt), Owais Zia, Ramiz Raja Jr, Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Shahid Yousaf, M Hasan, M Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Umar Gul, Imran Khan, Osama Mir, Saeed Ajmal.

FEDERAL CAPITAL

Sharjeel Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Iftikhar Ahmed, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asif Zakir, Hammad Azam, Sarmad Bhatti, Arsal Sheikh, Imran Khalid, Zafar Gohar, M Sami, M Irfan, Hasan Ali, M Abbas.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA

A Shahzad, Fakhar Zaman, Younus Khan (capt), Rameez Aziz, Naveed Yasin, Musadiq Ahmed, Bismillah Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Rahat Ali, Azarullah, Sadaif Mehdi, Yasir Shah, M Asghar, Zohaib Khan, Hayatullah.