Shoaib, Asif to be included in Pakistan's preliminary squad for CT

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Lahore, Jul 10 (UNI) Poor showing in the recently concluded Asia Cup has forced Pakistan to recall its two of the most lethal fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, who have often been sorrounded by controversies, for this September's Champions Trophy.

Both Shoaib and Asif are out of international cricket on disciplinary grounds but their mettle is a known fact to the batsmen all over the world.

Temperamental pacer Shoaib was recently given some respite by the Lahore High Court which temporarily lifted an 18-month ban imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board-appointed appelate tribunal.

Not far behind, Asif is facing a PCB inquiry after being detained in Dubai last month over possession of a banned drug.

The board, however, has accepted the court verdict and included both the speedsters in the 30-man provisional list for the Champions Trophy.

''We will include both Shoaib and Asif in the preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy,'' PCB chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed was quoted as saying by 'The News' today.

''Both of them are very important players and there is certainly space for them in the bowling line,'' he added.

But Salahuddin made it clear that inclusion in the provisional squad does not guarantee the two pacers a place in the Champions Trophy squad.

''We will be giving the names of the players in the preliminary squad to the PCB tomorrow. 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,'' Salahuddin said.

Both Shoaib and Asif have had a number of injury problems and Salahuddin advised the duo to feature in domestic games ahead of the Champions Trophy and also work on their fitness.

''Our policy is to only select players who are match fit for national duty.

''There is no doubt that we need to have players like Shoaib and Asif back in the side but only if they are fully match fit,'' he added.

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