Kamran in, Malik out of World Cup probables

Kamran Akmal has been out of the team since Pakistan’s tour of England was rocked by spot-fixing allegations. (GETTY)

Pakistan selectors on Tuesday included spot-fixing suspect Kamran Akmal in a preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup but left out former captain Shoaib Malik and leg-spinner Danish Kaneria.

The committee twice deferred announcing the squad as they sought clearance from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on players who were reportedly under suspicion of match-fixing during Pakistan’s tour of England last year.
Shahid Afridi is expected to retain the one-day captaincy for the World Cup.
The 10th World Cup will be hosted jointly by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka from February 19 to April 2, with 14 teams competing.
Pakistan will miss former opener Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, who are suspended on spot-fixing charges.
They appear before an International Cricket Council (ICC) tribunal in Doha from January 6-11 and could face life bans.
A squad for six one-days against New Zealand will be announced next week.
Pakistan received a two-week extension from the ICC on the December 19 deadline to announce the probables as they sought clearance on three players.
Teams now have until January 19 to announce a 15-man squad.
“We are satisfied that we have selected the best squad from amongst the available players,” said chief selector Mohsin Khan.
“I request the whole nation to back the selected players who need all the encouragement to win the World Cup,” said Khan, a former Pakistan opener.
Commenting on the media reports regarding the clearance of certain players, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said: “The integrity committee has given its views on some players to the selection committee, which has taken into consideration that input and has selected the probables.”
Kamran said he was never involved in any wrongdoing.
“I have always played cricket the right way and when the PCB asked me to appear before the committee I complied and I am happy that they have included me in the preliminary squad,” Kamran told AFP.
Kamran was under suspicion of match-fixing during Pakistan’s surprise defeat in the Sydney Test against Australia in January last year.
He dropped four catches and missed a run-out in Australia’s second innings as Pakistan failed to chase a modest 176-run target.
The International Cricket Council reportedly issued a notice to him.
Kamran, who scored his highest first class score of 268 last November, said he hoped Pakistan would do well despite missing key players, including pace bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, both facing bans on spot-fixing charges.
“We have to play with the available players and I am sure that if we play to our potential we can win the World Cup,” said Kamran.
Malik, who was also reportedly under suspicion of match-fixing, said he was disappointed at being left out.
“My family and I are deeply disappointed,” Malik said in a television interview.
“It’s a great honour to play in the World Cup but I will not allow my confidence level to dip and will continue to perform at a domestic level,” said Malik who has scored four hundreds in the ongoing domestic season.
Malik said the PCB gave no reason for dropping him.
“It’s tough to pacify yourself when you are not given a reason for your omission,” said Malik, who was sacked as captain in January 2009 after being at the helm for two years.
“Cricket teaches you discipline so with discipline and determination I will strive to get my place back,” said Malik, who married Indian tennis star Sania Mirza last year.
Kamran, 28, has been out of the team since Pakistan’s most recent tour of England was rocked by spot-fixing allegations. He was also not selected for the team’s neutral-venue series against South Africa.
He was excluded from the Twenty20 and Test squad for the New Zealand tour despite recovering from an appendix operation. He has since featured in domestic matches and scored his highest first-class score of 268.
The 28-year-old Malik has been out of favour since a Twenty20 series against Australia in England in July.
Kamran, Malik and Kaneria appeared before PCB’s integrity committee, formed on the directives of ICC, and submitted details of their assets and accounts last week but only Kamran was cleared.
Veteran batsman Mohammad Yousuf was also recalled among the probables after being left out of the Test series against New Zealand because of fitness problems.
Also included was all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.
World Cup 2011 preliminary squad: Shahid Afridi, Ahmed Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufiq Umer, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Naved Yasin, Kamran Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Salman Ahmed, Abdul Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanveer, Tanveer Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheama, Asad Ali. 
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