Shoaib remains the odd one out!

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Except for Shoaib Akhtar, who is facing a disciplinary hearing, all of Pakistan’s first choice players are included in their squad for the second Test against South Africa in Lahore scheduled to begin from October 8.

With the selectors’ announcement that former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq will play in the series-deciding Test, the hosts’ squad has almost all the players who have been its regular members in recent times.

The only key player missing is fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar. However, because of injury and doping-related problems, the Rawalpindi Express has not been a regular member of the Pakistan team in recent seasons.

After missing the Karachi Test, Shoaib will also sit out in the final Test at Lahore as he is facing a six-month ban from international cricket over misconduct.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Nasim Ashraf also made it clear here on Friday that Shoaib has almost a ‘zero percent’ chance to play in Lahore.

“Shoaib cannot be considered for Pakistan selection because he is under an indefinite suspension,” Ashraf told reporters here at the National Stadium. “The player will stay unavailable till the time the (PCB) disciplinary committee clears him,” he added.

That is unlikely to happen before the start of the second Test as the Board’s three-man disciplinary committee is expected to announce a decision on his case on October 8.

Shoaib, 32, was sent back home from South Africa, banned for five matches and later suspended indefinitely after he was found guilty of hitting fellow pacer Mohammad Asif with a cricket bat in a dressing room brawl during a training session in Johannesburg. A disciplinary committee headed by Shafqat Naghmi, the Board’s CEO, is to decide on Shoaib’s case after hearing the bowler’s defence at a hearing in Lahore today (Saturday).

If the strict stance shown by Ashraf on Friday is any indication, then it seems that Shoaib is facing some tough sanctions.

A serious allegation against him is that he skipped a national training camp in Karachi this August, complaining of a neck injury but went to England to play in an unauthorized match there during that ‘rest’ period.

A Board official told ‘The News’ that Shoaib has informed the disciplinary committee that he would attend today’s hearing with his lawyer. Abid Hassan Minto, who helped him to get the two-year doping ban reversed last year, is expected to fight his case.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.

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