Asif not to play in Pak’s T20 WC opener against Bangladesh

Karachi: Defending champions Pakistan have dropped pacer Muhammad Asif for their Twenty20 World Cup opener against Bangladesh on Saturday after he went wicket-less in the warm-up matches.

There are also concerns that the recent financial dispute with popular actress and model Veena Malik has affected him psychologically.

“Muhammad Sami will play in his place and we have finalised the playing eleven for the opening match,” he said.

Sources close to the team said the worst fears of the management had come true and Asif was definitely not at his best in the Pakistan camp.

“The public spat with Veena has definitely affected him and shifted his focus from cricket, he is struggling to regain his confidence,” an insider said.

The dispute between Asif and Veena, who were in 2008 and 2009 very close to getting married, took place when Veena claimed that the fast bowler owed her around Rs 15 million.

Although a common friend stepped in to resolve the dispute between the two there was still some misunderstanding between them and Veena was unhappy that Asif had gone ahead and got married to a girl chosen by his family.

Pakistan’s former leg-spinner and ex-chief selector, however, criticized the practice of announcing the playing eleven well before the match.

“I don’t know why this is necessary because by announcing the playing eleven in advance you basically give away your game plan and allow the opposition to plan their strategy accordingly,” Qadir said.

He also slammed the decision to not play left arm spinner, Abdul Rehman warning that Pakistan would regret this decision in the World Cup.

“On pitches which are tailor-made for spinners, Rehman should be in the eleven at all costs, in 2007 we made the mistake of not playing Danish Kaneria against Ireland and went out of the World Cup,” Qadir noted.

The playing XI: The Salman Butt, Muhammad Hafeez, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Muhammad Sami, Muhammad Aamir, Saeed Ajmal.