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Pakistan players told to keep quiet

cricket Updated: Sep 10, 2007 12:54 IST

Reuters
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Pakistan's players should keep quiet about the spat between fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif in South Africa which led to Akhtar being sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup, officials said on Sunday.

"Shoaib and the others should keep their mouth shut on this issue. It is not helping either the team or the image of Pakistan cricket," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Nasim Ashraf told Reuters.

Pakistan's Twenty20 World Cup team management sent Akhtar home on Friday after he hit Asif on the thigh with a bat during a nets session.

On Saturday, Akhtar told a news conference he had hit Asif accidentally and blamed allrounder Shahid Afridi for sparking the incident by making an offensive remark.

Ashraf said Akhtar would get the opportunity to defend himself and give his version of events before a three-member inquiry committee.

"Until the inquiry begins he should remain quiet," he added.

"There is a code of conduct in place for the players and they are violating it by speaking on this issue which has already proved damaging for us.

"Comments by the players will only reduce the morale of the team and affect them in the World Cup.

PCB chief executive Shafqat Naghmi left for South Africa on Sunday to start the inquiry.

Ashraf said Akhtar, 32, would serve an indefinite ban until the inquiry was completed.

Pakistan play their first World Cup match against Scotland on Wednesday in Durban.