PCB seeks more time to name World Cup squad

Karachi: The PCB sought more time to announce Pakistan`s preliminary World Cup squad and ODI team for the New Zealand series, a clear indication that it was mulling the possibility of including those players who are under ICC scanner over spot-fixing allegations.

After separate meetings of the national selection committee and the integrity committee that lasted for hours at the PCB headquarters in Lahore, the board said in a statement that teams would be announced at a later date.

"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 probable`s for the upcoming ICC World Cup came under discussion," the statement said.

"A meeting of Integrity Committee was also held with Mr Ejaz 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," the statement said.

Well-placed sources said that the PCB found itself in a difficult situation to justify not selecting the senior players such as Kamran Akmal, Danish Kaneria, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved in the World Cup preliminary squad as the ICC had not issued any supporting documents to confirm they are under
suspicions in the wake of spot-fixing scandal.

"The problem is how can the board justify not picking these leading players even in the World Cup preliminary squad of 30 as there is no documentary evidence against them neither any provided to the PCB by the ICC," one source said.

Another source who witnessed the meeting confirmed that two of the players under review had also submitted ICC letters which said they had not instructed the PCB not to consider them for selection.

"It is a dicey situation for the PCB as some of the players have also got legal backing now and are prepared to challenge any move to just drop them on the sheer statement that the board has not given them clearance," the source said.

Chief selector, Mohsin Khan also made it clear that the selectors could only announce their squads once they had clearance about certain players from the board.

"We need to get clearance from the integrity committee of the board about every player we are considering in the World Cup squad," he said.

The PCB formed its integrity committee after the spot fixing allegations broke out during Pakistan`s tour to England which led to the suspension of three players, Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir by the ICC.

The integrity committee is tasked with the job of checking the background and past history of all players before they are given clearance to play for any national team.

Kaneria, who was selected in the Pakistan team for the Test series against South Africa last month, was stopped from travelling to Dubai to join the team on the instructions of the integrity committee.