No place for Shoaib in National T20 event

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Lahore, Sep 16 (UNI) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has dropped temperamental fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar from the Islamabad squad that would be competing in the October 4-8 RBS National Twenty-20 tournament.

PCB Chief Operating Officer (COO) Shafqat Naghmi faced many questions about Shoaib's omission as the sponsors unveiled the names of all players on the slide of the official launching ceremony for the tournament here yesterday.

''We may adjust Shoaib before the start of the tournament since we still have enough time,'' Naghmi replied.

However, Islamabad team's regional president Shakil Shaikh disclosed that Shoaib's name was included in the list of 16-member team of his region and was perhaps removed by the PCB.

''I myself signed the 16-member team with Shoaib Akhtar's name very much in the squad. I don't know what happened after the team was submitted to the PCB,'' Shakil told 'Dawn'.

And later, PCB's official Saqib Irfan while clarifying the situation said, ''Yes, Islamabad did sent a 16-member squad instead of 15 for the event with Shoaib Akhtar's name mentioned as the 16th player.'' ''Our clerk cut his name out as only 15-member squads are allowed for the T20 event,'' Saqib said.

Asked why Naghmi couldn't elaborate on the situation at the launch, Saqib said there was no plan to show the names of the players at the launching ceremony but the sponsors came up with it by themselves.

''Danish Kaneria's name is also mentioned in the teams which were showed on the slide, but according to fresh reports at present he is not fit enough to play. So this is not a perfect list of the teams,'' he said.

However, sources said Shoaib's name had been removed because he was yet to pay up the fine of Rs 7 million imposed on him by PCB's Appellate Tribunal.

Surprisingly, the Lahore High Court, in an order on Shoaib's appeal against the fine and two-year ban had allowed the bowler to play cricket while pending the decision on the fine. On that basis, Shoaib's name had also been included in the 15-member squad for the now-postponed Champions Trophy.

Moreover, the schedule and format of the tournament indicates that the PCB is just filling in the blanks by aiming to wind up a 13-team high-profile competition within just five days.

The winners of this tournament will be representing the country in the World Champions League where top teams of different countries would be competing.

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