Akmal relieved at finding a place in World Cup prelim squad

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 19:09 PM IST

Karachi: Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal on Wednesday heaved a sigh of relief after being included in the preliminary squad of 30 for next month’s World Cup in the subcontinent.

“I am delighted to be back in the national squad once again. I just hope that the selectors retain me in the final squad,” Akmal said a day after being cleared by the Pakistan Cricket Board of any wrong doing and picked for the World Cup preliminary squad.

Akmal, who has played some match-winning knocks for Pakistan, said he was also happy that the stigma of being involved in anything wrong had also been lifted from his head.

“I have never done anything wrong while playing cricket and I was confident I would be able to convince the Board to this. I complied with everything the Board’s integrity committee asked me to do and provide. I had no issues providing them all documents they wanted,” he said.

Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria were investigated by the Board’s integrity committee on suspicions of having been involved in spot-fixing or having links with bookmakers.

While the integrity committee, after long deliberations on, yesterday cleared Akmal, they didn’t give clearance for the other two players to the national selectors to consider them for the World Cup preliminary squad.

Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas felt that the PCB should explain the reasons for not considering the two players.

“They should be clear and transparent about everything else or else these players will continue to carry the burden of having done something wrong while playing for Pakistan for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Akmal said that he had spent a tough last few months since his name started being linked to spot-fixing and other corruption allegations.

“It was difficult one for me and my family as well but I tackled it with patience and the fact that my younger brothers Umar and Adnan were picked to play for Pakistan gave me confidence I would also be able to convince the Board I was involved in nothing corrupt,” he said.

Akmal said he was now just looking ahead to making the World Cup final squad as he had a harrowing experience in the last tournament in 2007 in the West Indies.

“I just wish to make amends for that poor performance and I am sure the other players also want to do well this time around in the World Cup,” he said.

Malik was, however, disappointed and insisted that he had also provided everything the Board had asked from him.

“I gave them all relevant documents, details of my accounts, receipts and explanation for everything in my fold but I do not know what happened. But I have not given up hope of making it back to the national team again,” he said.

Malik claimed some media reports that he had not accounted for 90,000 pounds in his accounts was not true and in fact he had accounted for every penny in his possession.