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Banned Younus, Malik make probable Pak squad

Pakistan today named banned former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik in a preliminary 35-man squad for next month's Asia Cup and tour of England.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Lahore
UPDATED ON MAY 25, 2010 09:39 PM IST

Pakistan on Tuesday named banned former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik in a preliminary 35-man squad for next month's Asia Cup and tour of England.

The pair were banned in the wake of a disastrous tour of Australia, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said they would only be included in the final squad if they were successful in their appeals against the sanctions.

Pakistan will play in the four-nation Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from June 15-24, before going to England to play two Twenty20 matches and two Tests against Australia and then four Tests, five one-dayers and two T20 games against England.

"We have promised to review the fines and bans on six of our top players, so the names of Younus and Malik will only be included in the final squad after a decision on their appeals," said PCB chairman Ijaz Butt.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi was named captain for both the Asia Cup and the tour of England. Final squads for both the tours will be announced early next month, said Butt.

Butt assured a parliamentary committee on Monday that the bans and fines on the players will be reviewed "in the best interest of Pakistan cricket."

Younus and fellow former captain Mohammad Yousuf were banned indefinitely because of "infighting in the team" in March, while Malik and all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan were banned for one year.

Malik and Naved, also fined heavily, were penalised for discipline breaches. Naved, playing county cricket in England, did not make the preliminary squad.

Afridi and the Akmal brothers -- Kamran and Umar -- were also heavily fined for various discipline breaches.

The penalties came on the recommendation of an inquiry committee which looked into the team's dismal tour of Australia, where Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-day and a Twenty20 match between December-February.

Except for Yousuf, who retired from international cricket in protest, all six players appealed against the sanctions.

Leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was also included in the initial squad despite his involvement in a police investigation into betting in Essex.

The 29-year-old Kaneria, along with Essex colleague Mervyn Westfield, were questioned on May 14 before being released on bail until September 15, pending further investigation but were free to play cricket at all levels.

Express pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar was also included after he regained full fitness from a knee problem which kept him out of international cricket for 13 months.

Preliminary squad: Shahid Afridi (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Yasir Hameed, Khurrum Manzoor, Shahzaib Hasan, Azhar Ali, Azeem Ghuman, Shoaib Malik, Younus Khan, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam, Hasan Raza, Asad Shafiq, Umar Ameen, Aamir Sajjad, Mohammad Hafeez, Abdul Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Tanveer Ahmed, Aizaz Cheema, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Babar, Zulqarnain Haider.

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