Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board has sought clearance from the International Cricket Council to allow it to select players involved in the spot-fixing scandal in their preliminary World Cup squad.
The PCB has not yet cleared the names of wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal, all-rounder Shoaib Malik and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, pending clearance for their alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal.
Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt, pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer already remain suspended by the ICC over charges of spot-fixing during the Lord`s Test against England in August.
Pakistan has until December 19 to announce a preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup to be held in the subcontinent.
Before the World Cup, Pakistan tours New Zealand for three Twenty20 matches, two Tests and six one-day internationals. The Twenty20 and Test squads have already been announced.
Sources in the PCB said today that the main reason for the national selectors and Board delaying the announcement of the World Cup squad and one-day squad for the New Zealand series was because the selectors were keen to consider Akmal, Malik and Kaneria for the upcoming assignments.
Unofficially, the PCB has been under pressure from the ICC to sideline these three and Rana Naved as the ICC was yet to be satisfied that they were not involved with any bookmakers or spot-fixing rackets.
The integrity committee, formed by the PCB to examine suspicions against their players, met yesterday in Lahore and held lengthy deliberations on the future of the three players.
"The selectors told the board chairman that these players were assets for Pakistan and unless something concrete was proven against them they should be allowed to play for Pakistan," a source said.
"National selector Muhammad Illyas even told the PCB officials that the players were like the children of the board and if the PCB shunned them who would support them," the source added.
As a result of yesterday`s developments, the PCB had again got back to the ICC for advice on how to go about the issue.
In the meantime, the integrity committee has asked these three players to submit details of their assets and bank accounts due to suspicion that they might be involved in spot-fixing.
This is the first time that the board has asked players to give details of their assets and bank accounts.
"It is no big deal if the announcement for the WC is delayed. The PCB can get an extension from the ICC but what is far more important is the future of these players who have given a lot to Pakistan cricket," another source said.