Kamran disheartened by his exclusion from team for Kiwi Tour

Karachi: Ignored by the selectors for the New Zealand Tour, Pakistan stumper-batsman Kamran Akmal has claimed that he had got clearance from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to play anywhere and for any team.

Selectors yesterday dropped senior batsman Mohammed Yousuf and ignored Kamran and Shoaib Malik for the intial Twenty20 and Test series against New Zealand.

There are doubts if Kamran has links with bookmakers and the PCB’s decision is linked to that, the sources had revealed.

Alleged bookmaker Mazar Majeed has also claimed that seven Pakistani players, including Kamran, were hand in glove with him in spot fixing.

Kamran is not pleased by the decision of the selectors but has not lost hope on making the World Cup squad.

“I am disheartened but certainly have not given up hope of coming back to the team,” Kamran said.

Referring to a statement by chief selector Mohsin Khan that he was not picked for the tour because the Pakistan cricket Board did not clear his name, Kamran said he was not unaware about that.

“All I know and can say in response to these media reports about my not getting clearance that I got a clearance letter from the ICC and I have handed it over to the PCB,” he said.

Sources though said the clearance letter, however, pertained to inquiry held by the ICC anti-corruption unit into the T20 World Cup earlier this year in the West Indies.

He said he was still targeting a place in the 2011 World Cup.

“I have always given my best for Pakistan and even if I have to just play as a specialist batsman and not as a wicketkeeper I am ready for this challenge. If they don’t want me as a keeper I think they should consider me as a specialist batsman and my records says a lot about this,” he said.

Asked if he felt that claims by Mazhar Majeed, who acted as an agent for Pakistani players but is now suspected to be involved in spot-fixing, had influenced his selection, Kamran said that he knew Mazhar only as an agent.

“He and his brother were agents for not just me but other players as well and we know him just as an agent and there is nothing more to our ties with him. What he claims is his business but I want to make it clear that I have always given my 100 percent for Pakistan,” he said.

The wicketkeeper whose two other brothers, Umar and Adnan have, however, been included in the squads for the New Zealand tour said he would welcome any investigation by the PCB.

“I am disheartened but not broken. I see this as a decision taken by the PCB and selectors in which right now I don’t fit into scheme of things. But I know I can come back because I am working hard,” Kamran said.


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