Shoaib Akhtar who was exonerated earlier this month from doping case has not been included in the 17 member test squad announced yesterday. After the team was announced, he had appeared in Gaddafi Stadium. He left the chairman office within fifteen minutes, looking extremely angry and refused to talk to any journalist at the ground.
Ehtesham-ud-Din, member of selection committee of PCB, said that Shoaib Akhtar could not find a place in the test squad since he lacked match fitness. His performance in the current twenty20 cup was not at all satisfactory and he needs to gain more match fitness.
Though both Akhtar and Asif were exonerated earlier this month just before the commencement of Pak-WI ODI series but both of the bowlers were not included saying that they have to play at domestic level first and then come back to international if they pass to prove their form and fitness. Muhammad Asif played very well in the twenty20 cup held at Karachi. He presented himself as an important player for his team i.e. Sialkot. On the other hand Rawalpindi Express Shoaib Akhtar was not able to get his place in the test squad.
Ehtesham-ud-Din says that Akhtar has still chance to get into the ODI squad for South Africa. All he needs is to prove his match fitness. Shoaib will be having five matches in a row in the Quid-e-Azam Trophy starting from January 6, 2007. And if he plays well there he can be a part of ODI team.
As claimed by the new chairman, Naseem Ashraf, PCB has starting to avoid the big names who are not fit or out of form. One example apart from Shoaib Akhtar is Shahid Khan Afridi. Afridi has failed to score for a longer periods of time in international cricket. In the start of this year, he has played some good innings against India but he has been quite since then. He was not included in the team that played against West Indies and also he is not included in the test squad announced recently.
Shabir Ahmad also failed to secure his position in squad after one year ban from international cricket imposed by ICC due to objectionable action.