Tuesday 15 July 2008 

Shoaib Akhtar In Preliminary Champions Trophy Squad

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) included fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar in a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy announced on Tuesday.

However, senior batsman Mohammad Yousuf was not on the list after he had asked the national selectors not to consider him for the tournament due to his religious activities.

"Since the tournament is being held in the holy month of Ramadhan from September 11 to 28, Yousuf requested he should not be considered," one national selector said.

Shafqat Naghmi, the board's chief operating officer, told a news conference the 30 players would all undergo dope tests on July 19 and 20 in Lahore conducted by the PCB.

"Any player who fails the test or avoids giving a sample will not be considered for the final Champions Trophy squad and will also face disciplinary action under our anti-doping regulations," Naghmi said.

He added that Shoaib was in the squad because the board wanted to give him a chance to prove his fitness.

The fast bowler was asked to pay a fine of seven million rupees (50,000 pounds) by July 14 to be considered for selection.

The fine was imposed on him by an appeals tribunal that last month cut his ban from five years to 18 months.

Shoaib's lawyer had informed the board he would consider paying the fine only when the High Court took a final decision on his petition against the ban and fine.

The court had suspended the ban but not the fine.

"We never said he couldn't play if he didn't pay the fine. He has said he will pay the fine when the court orders him and we accept that. Right now we have given him a chance to prove his fitness and get picked in the final fifteen," Naghmi said.

Pakistan: Shoaib Malik (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq (vice-captain), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Ahmed Shehzad, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Azhar Ali, Bazid Khan, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Arafat, Mansoor Amjad, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Mohammad Ali, Iftikhar Anjum, Sohail Khan, Abdur Rauf, Wahab Riaz, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Aamer, Kamran Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal

© Reuters 2008