The Pakistan selectors will meet on October 22 to finalise Pakistan's squad for next month's limited-overs series against New Zealand in the UAE. However, there are two key issues to be sorted out before the final list is announced for the three ODIs and two Twenty20 games in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to be played between November 3-13.
Younis Khan's availability to lead Pakistan in the three ODIs in Abu Dhabi is under a cloud as is fast bowler Mohammad Asif's comeback, and whether he will be cleared by the UAE authorities to play in the series.
"We will have a meeting of the selection committee on October 22 after which we will name the team for the series against New Zealand," Iqbal Qasim, told the News.
Qasim was unsure whether Younis will be taking part in the series, and would wait for an announcement by Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, regarding the issue. Younis resigned as captain earlier this week following match-fixing accusations during the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against New Zealand. Butt though, refused to accept the decision and is expected to make a ruling on the captaincy issue tomorrow after holding talks with Younis.
Asif, returned to the national team during the Champions Trophy, after serving a one-year ban for doping. He was also deported from Dubai last June after being detained their over possession of a banned drug.
Qasim said he was yet to receive any instructions from the PCB regarding Asif. "We are expecting a word from the PCB regarding Asif before our meeting next week and will take a decision about him accordingly. Asif a match-winning bowler. He is bowling well in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and is an automatic choice for the Pakistan team."
According to PCB officials, a decision on whether Asif can play in UAE will be made next week. Wasim Bari, the PCB's chief operating officer, said the board was still awaiting a reply from the authorities on its request for clearance for Asif. The PCB in fact, had sought ICC's assistance to get Asif cleared for the series against New Zealand.
Asif was barred from entering the UAE after he was detained in Dubai for 19 days last June for allegedly possessing opium when he was returning home after featuring in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was later released without being charged but he was deported from Dubai, which means he cannot travel to the desert state.
Asif was handed a Rs 1-million fine by the PCB for his Dubai misadventure after the IPL drugs inquiry tribunal banned him for a year for failing a dope test. However, the one-year ban was back-dated to September last year, thereby making him eligible for the Champions Trophy.