Shoaib gets the green signal for Asia Cup

Published: Friday, June 18, 2004, 22:11 [IST]
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Islamabad:Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday paved the way for controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to play in the Asia Cup by naming him in the 26-member probables list for the event to be held in Sri Lanka next month.

Veteran off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and dashing all-rounder Shahid Afridi have been omitted from the list, which includes a host of up and coming players who helped the country win the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year.

Shoaib's inclusion put an end to weeks of speculation on whether the speed demon should be considered for selection following the injury that forced him not to bowl in India's second innings in the series-deciding third Test in April.

Shoaib was apparently included after he insisted that he had recovered completely from the injury.

But he would now have to pass a stringent fitness test at the training camp - scheduled to be held in Lahore from June 28 - to be eligible for selection.

Releasing the names, PCB spokesman Sami-ul-Hassan said the players were chosen with an idea to provide a broad perspective to new coach Bob Woolmer about the talent that was available to play at the highest level so that he would be in a good position to pick the right players for the matches.

The list included a number of youngsters like batsman Bajid Khan, son of former cricketer Majid Khan and fast bowlers, Rao Iftikar and Riaz Afridi and all-rounder Yasir Aaraft.

The probables would attend the fitness camp at Lahore from June 28 and Woolmer, who replaced Javed Miandad as the coach just a couple of days back, was expected to take charge on July 2.

The camp was expected to continue till the team leaves to take part in the Asia Cup, which begins in Sri Lanka from July 16.

Besides defending champions Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates are taking part in the event.

Probables: Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Moin Khan, Mohammed Sami, Shabbir Ahmed, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, Rana Naveed-ul-Hasan, Shoaib Akhtar, Danish Kaneria, Younis Khan, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Hafeez, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Salman Butt, Riaz Afridi, Zahid Saeed, Misbah-ul-Haq, Bazid Khan, Yasir Arafat.

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