Shoaib Akhtar clears the first hurdle

Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar may after all play in the Asia Cup with the national selectors reversing their stand and deciding to include him in the list of 24 probables for the July 16-August 2 event.

While the list of probables was yet to be officially announced, newspaper reports quoting sources in the selection committee said Shoaib has been included subject to passing the fitness test.

Local daily The News said the selection committee, headed by former cricketer Wasim Bari, has forwarded the probables list to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which was expected to release the same shortly.

Shoaib's inclusion comes after the player protested the earlier decision by the Board to omit him on the ground that the English club side Durham, for whom he has been playing in the County championship this year, had said he was still nursing rib injury and should be used sparingly.

It appears that the outburst by the paceman forced the Board to reconsider its decision.

"His selection has been made on the presumption that he had very successful bowling stints for Durham but he has to prove his fitness to be selected in the squad," one of the selectors was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Among the notable names that have been omitted from the list are off- spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and batsman Taufiq Umer.

Saqlain was omitted as Pakistan already has two spinners -- leg spinner Danish Kaneria and part time spinner, Shoaib Mallik.

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