Shoaib may not be automatic selection for India tour

Published: Thursday, February 3, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:It appears there could be a real roadblock in the way of 'Rawalpindi Express' making his trip to India. In the first strong hint that Shoaib Akhtar might not be an automatic selection for the tour of India starting later this month, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan has said he was indeed concerned over the recent conduct of the paceman.

"Like I said before, I am going to have a hard talk with Shoaib because we have concerns over his behaviour and conduct, especially in Australia," Shaharyar told local daily 'The News'.

The PCB chief, however, said he did not want to make any judgment without giving the fast bowler a fair hearing.

"I want to have a hard talk with him. I want him to tell us his side of the story before we start condemning him," he said.

Asked about the recent statements made by the fast bowler that he was often made a scapegoat for the team's poor performances and that a lobby was out to defame him, Shaharyar said he was not aware of those comments.

"But yes, there is a clear code of conduct for every player, particularly in the central contracts, which states clearly that a player cannot give statements without permission from the team management."

Shoaib, who took 11 wickets in the first two Tests in Australia at Perth and Melbourne before breaking down with a hamstring injury, is said to be low on the popularity list of the captain or the coach because of his individualistic behaviour.

Meanwhile, a report in PPI news agency said the PCB chief strongly backed the team, captain and players despite its poor performance Australia.

"Our players will come back battle-hard for Indian tour. We have a bunch of talented young players. They had never faced such a hard opposition like Australia. When they return after the series, the players will be strong, mentally and cricket wise," said Shaharyar.

"Any young team which takes two steps forward is bound to slip one step back. Watching one step back, people back home got the feeling that team is crumbling. In fact, we have youngsters who are shaping up well," said the former diplomat.

"An India-Pakistan cricket series is important due to tremendous involvement of people in both the countries. During India's tour of Pakistan, atmosphere was so sporting that it was hard to believe that the two countries are supposed to be enemies," he said.

The PCB chief also threw his weight behind captain Inzamam-ul Haq.

"Inzamam is a very wise captain. He has the respect of players. The culture in our country is such that we cannot make a 20-year-old as captain like the way South Africa has appointed Graeme Smith."

"People say that Inzamam is laidback but it has its advantage too. He does not panic during tense moments. He may not be an inspiring leader, but he is one on whom players can rely for experience," he said.

Read more about: news, thatscricketcom, february 3
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