Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal is under investigation for suspected match-fixing and could be sidelined from the World Twenty20 championship to be held in the West Indies in April-May, a leading daily reported on Friday.
Quoting sources, The News reported that Kamran was axed from the Pakistan squad for the two Twenty20 Internationals against England in Dubai because there are suspicions that he might have deliberately dropped catches during the second Test in Sydney against Australia last month.
The 28-year-old was dropped from the third and final match of the series in Hobart for the first time in 42 Tests and five years but returned for the limited-overs games. He smashed a 33-ball 64 in the tour-ending Twenty20 International at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but was still dropped from the touring party for the Dubai matches.
Officially, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Kamran was overlooked for the brief Dubai visit because of his poor showing in Australia as well as his statements after the Sydney Test in which he insisted he will play in Hobart in spite of the fact that PCB had rushed young glovesman Sarfaraz Ahmed to Australia for the final Test.
"Otherwise, how can you leave out a player who had scored 64 from 33 balls against Australia in his last match," said the source. "He (Kamran) is a suspect."
Kamran, who was Pakistan's vice-captain in the Test series against Australia, came under intense fire for his pathetic showing behind the stumps in the Sydney Test which Pakistan lost by 36 runs.
He dropped Mike Hussey three times in that Test allowing the veteran batsman to score a match-winning hundred. Kamran also floored Peter Siddle besides wasting a run-out opportunity against Shane Watson and was later singled out for Pakistan's defeat from a seemingly-winning position.
The menace of match-fixing is not new for Pakistan cricket. Last October, National Assembly's sports committee chief Jamshed Dasti accused the Pakistan team of deliberately losing to Australia to knock old rivals India out of the Champions Trophy in South Africa. However, the committee later cleared the team of any wrongdoings.
Back in 2000, former Pakistan captain Salim Malik and medium pacer Ata-ur Rehman were found guilty of match-fixing by Justice Malik Qayyum. They were both banned for life following a year-long investigation.