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Shoaib dropped from domestic competition

Source: PTI
February 15, 2008 15:02 IST
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Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been dropped from a domestic tournament in Pakistan on disciplinary grounds after being accused of having a negative influence on the dressing room.

Shoaib's fitness was on trial when he led the Federal Areas team against Punjab in the Pentangular Cup match in Lahore this week. After going wicketless in 18 overs on a batting pitch, he criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board and said the arrangements for the domestic match were not upto standards.

Shoaib described the tie as a 'B' grade match and said the board was doing no service to cricket by providing sub-standard balls and preparing dead pitches.

Already facing disciplinary action for an earlier statement in which he accused the board of having double standards and a dual policy towards players, Shoaib has now been dropped from the Federal Areas team.

A team official said the decision to drop him and hand over captaincy to Test pacer Rao Iftikhar was taken after much discussion.

"We felt he had violated the code of conduct with his comments after the match and also he failed to gel with other players and inspire them. His performance was also poor," the official said.

Sources, however, said that PCB chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf had specifically told the Federal Areas team management to drop Shoaib at once after he lashed out at the board once again.

"The PCB chief exerted pressure on the team management because the entire tournament and the teams are funded by the board," sources said.

Since the board had already issued a notice to Shoaib for breach of conduct and had given him time until February 18 to submit an explanation, they could not have taken more action against him. So they have got it done through the Federal Areas team, sources said.

But Shoaib said he himself had decided to not play in the remaining Pentangular matches as he was busy with a family engagement.

"I might be available for the last match but even that is uncertain now," he said.

A board official said Shoaib had until February 20, because of the general elections on the February 18, to reply to the notice.

Muneer Hafeez, who heads the PCB disciplinary committee, said the fast bowler would be given every chance to tell his side of the story if and when a hearing is held.

"So far, we have not got any instructions from the board to start disciplinary proceedings against anyone," he said.

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