Shoaib-PCB stand off takes a new twist

Published: Friday, June 11, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:The controversy over paceman Shoaib Akhtar's omission for the forthcoming Asia Cup has taken a new turn with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offering to reconsider its decision of not selecting the bowler while the speedster himself saying that he has "lost the urge" to play in the tournament.

In a fresh outburst against the PCB over its decision to drop him for the Asia Cup squad, Shoaib said it would take a while for him to play for the country after the way the Board had handled him following the series defeat against India.

"I have lost the urge to play in the Asia Cup following the news coming from PCB. I will not go into details but one thing is certain that it would take me sometime before preparing myself to represent the country again," he was quoted as saying by the local daily The Newson Friday.

PCB had directed the selectors not to consider Shoaib, who is currently playing for English County Durham, for the Asia Cup on medical grounds.

"At this point of time, I cannot say when I will be back in action for Pakistan. It would be very difficult for me to gather myself and take a decision in this regard," he said.

Referring to the medical inquiry constituted by the Board to investigate into the injury he sustained during the third Test against India, the bowler said, "players needed trust from top to bottom, otherwise things could get complicated."

"I have never lied about my injury and this is evident from the two reports on my stress fracture. I expect the same from others and sadly as a player I have not got the trust."

Shoaib said he has not ruled out the possibility of sueing the PCB over the issue, adding that even former skipper Imran Khan had advised him to take that step.

"Even Pakistan's greatest ever cricketer Imran Khan has advised me to move court on the issue. I have not cancelled that option," he said.

Meanwhile, PCB's chief executive Ramiz Raja said the Board was puzzled with the behaviour of Shoaib but at the same time was willing to talk to the player to find about his fitness.

Raja said the Board would get in touch with Shoaib and find out the correct position. "If he wants to be considered for the Asia Cup, fine with us. But like every other player he has to prove his complete fitness and given the problems we have had with him in the past with reference to his fitness, we would like to be sure he is 150 per cent fit for the tournament," Raja told the same newspaper.

"It would be better if Shoaib made his position clear at the earliest to avoid any more confusion," he said.

"We don't understand his behaviour. The correct position regarding not considering him for the Asia Cup is that we got a letter from his County Durham making it clear he wanted to skip the tournament.

"We took the decision of sending a letter to the chief selector asking him not to consider Shoaib for the Asia Cup based on the letter we got from Durham. In the second letter they sent to us, they told that Shoaib had asked them to convey to us (PCB) that he wanted to be released for the Asia Cup because he was recovering from his injury and he wanted to be completely fit for the ICC Champions Trophy in England," Raja added.

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