Is Shoaib's pullout linked to secret PCB list?
Controversial speedster Shoaib Akhtar might have withdrawn from the coming Indian tour because of a slight by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which had prepared a list of 30 players in which the high-profile bowler did not figure.
Shoaib, 29, pulled out on Friday citing a hamstring injury, a day before the PCB announced a 16-member squad for the three Tests and six One-Day Internationals beginning February 28.
Shoaib had been in the news since he was sent back midway through the Australian tour because of the injury. The PCB slapped a $500 fine on him Thursday for breach of contract.
The fine came after he refused to play a domestic match to prove his fitness.
According to highly placed sources close to the PCB, the board had prepared a list of 30 players well before the selectors actually meet on Saturday when they announced a 16-member squad for the pressure cooker tour — the first to India in six years.
"The PCB had indeed drawn a list of 30 likely players who were in the frame for selection. Shoaib was not included in this list," the source told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"It is quite possible that Shoaib came to know about the contents of the list and he felt slighted and withdrew as a consequence," she said.
The official said it was strange that the PCB drew a probables list and stranger that it sent the list to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"It is quite unusual that the PCB sends a list of players to its counterpart. Will the PCB explain publicly why did it pick the list and why Shoaib's name was not there?" said the source, familiar with the working of the PCB.
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