KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chiefs on Wednesday delayed naming their 30-man preliminary squad for World Cup 2011.
Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, chaired meetings of the national selectors as well as the Board’s integrity committee at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
There was hectic activity at the Board quarters throughout the day but the selectors and the integrity committee were unable to decide the squad after which it was announced that the list will be announced at a later date.
Officially, PCB has declared that ‘further consideration’ is required before the squad is finalised. PCB officials were tightlipped over the issue but well-placed sources informed ‘The News’ that the Board remains undecided on whether to include or ignore former captain Shoaib Malik and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal in the preliminary squad.
The Board refused to clear the duo for national duty after the tour of England and though it is yet to give any reasons, it is believed that they are on a PCB blacklist because of suspected links with match-fixers.
Both Malik and Akmal appeared before the PCB integrity committee in a bid to obtain a clearance to join the national team ahead of World Cup 2011. According to sources, they have been told to submit details of their assets within the next two days.
Sources told this correspondent that the PCB is in two minds over this issue as it is under pressure from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to keep match-fixing suspects out of the national team. But, according to sources, certain influential quarters within the government are pushing for the duo’s inclusion in the World Cup squad.
PCB officials, however, refused to comment on the issue and just issued a media release which didn’t say much.
“A meeting of selection committee was held today at PCB headquarters in which the squads for The ODI series in New Zealand and names of 30 probables for the upcoming ICC World Cup came under discussion,” said the statement.
“A meeting of integrity committee was also held (with) Mr. Ijaz Butt in the chair. Other members of integrity committee — Mr. Subhan Ahmad (COO), Justice (Retired) Jamshed Ali, Mr. Mohsin Hasan Khan (chief selector), Mr. Zakir Khan (DCO International), Mr. Sultan Rana (DCO Domestic), Col. Wasim (Security Manager/Integrity Officer) and Mr. Taffazul Rizvi Advocate (Special Invitee) attended the meeting.
“All the issues relating to the clearance of players came under discussion. The committee decided that further consideration of this matter is required. The ODI squad for New Zealand and that for the World Cup will be announced at a later date,” it concluded.
While Pakistan can name their one-day squad for the six-match series against New Zealand next month, they have to submit names of their World Cup preliminary squad by December 19, two months before the tournaments gets underway in the sub-continent. This means PCB has just three more days to decide whether it wants Malik and Akmal in the World Cup squad. [Courtesy The News International]