ICL: Indian Cricket League

Team happy trouble maker has left their ranks


Pakistani players and officials are talking about ‘a huge burden lifted off their shoulders’ following the exclusion of temperamental pacer Shoaib Akhtar from the 15-man national squad over a dressing room brawl with teammate Mohammad Asif, the country’s cricket chief said on Monday, writes Khalid Hussain.

Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, told ‘The News’ in an interview that the members of the national team are happy that ‘a trouble maker has left their ranks’ and are now fully focused on the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup getting underway from today in South Africa.

“I’ve talked to some of the players and officials (of the Pakistan team) and they all feel relieved,” said Ashraf referring to the PCB decision to recall Shoaib from South Africa after the fast bowler hit Asif with a bat last week.

“They feel that a huge burden has been lifted off their shoulders,” added the PCB chief. There were fears that the return of their pace spearhead would leave Pakistan’s T20 World Cup campaign in disarray just a few days before the Greenshirts opening game of the tournament against Scotland in Durban.

But Ashraf rejected this impression saying that the morale in the Pakistani camp was high ahead of the opening game. “It was an unfortunate incident, there is no doubt about it,” he said referring to the dressing room spat. “But it hasn’t dented our team’s confidence at all. All the players are fully motivated and are looking forward to winning the Twenty20 World Cup.”

Ashraf said that the Board has handed Shoaib an ‘indefinite suspension’ adding that any further action would be taken after a full-fledged inquiry after the Twenty20 World Cup. He rejected reports as baseless that Shafqat Naghmi, the Board’s Chief Operating Officer, was rushed to South Africa to start an investigation against Shoaib.

“There is no truth in it. We have said that the inquiry will start after the tournament. Shafqat Naghmi has just gone to South Africa to attend an ICC meeting.” The PCB chief also rubbished reports that the Board will ask the authorities to put Shoaib on the Exit Control List.

“I believe some elements with vested interest are trying to make use of the situation. They are spreading such baseless rumours. All I can say any further action against Shoaib will only be taken after an inquiry.”

He was pleased with the performance of Pakistan A players after the local side whitewashed Australia A 3-0 in the one-day series recently. “I’m really proud of these players,” Ashraf said adding that he is expecting a similar showing from the hosts in the two-match Test series.

Source:Cricket News

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