Shoaib and Asif, regarded among the most lethal fast bowlers in the world cricket, have been out of international action because of disciplinary grounds. Asif was detained for more than two weeks at the Dubai Airport detention centre for possessing 'hashish'. He is now is facing a PCB inquiry.
But, Shoaib got a respite from the Lahore High Court (LHC) recently which temporarily lifted an 18-month ban imposed on the fast bowler by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The PCB has made it clear that it has no objection on their inclusion in the 30-man provisional list for the Champions Trophy. "We will include both Shoaib and Asif in the 35-member preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy. Both of them are very important players and there is certainly space for them in the bowling line," The News quoted PCB chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed as saying.
But, he added that their inclusion in the probables is not a guarantee that they would be playing for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy. "We will be giving the names of the players in the preliminary squad to the PCB on Friday. But that doesn't mean that the players who are a part of it will be in our Champions Trophy squad. Only the best and the fit ones will be included in the final 15-man squad," he said.
The chief selector advised the duo start working on their fitness and advised them to feature in domestic games ahead of the Champions Trophy.