| Shoaib is in the eye of a storm, yet again
Islamabad: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan gave controversial speedster Shoaib Akhtar a dressing down on Friday for his off-field behaviour during the tour of Australia, and asked him to prove his fitness ahead of the India tour.
Khan 'summoned Shoaib Akhtar to his office (today) and had a hard talk with him... Regarding his attitude and conduct during Pakistan's tour of Australia,' a PCB release said here on Friday. 'The chairman told the fast bowler to explain his conduct in writing by Monday, February 7, 2005. He told Shoaib that unless he was fully fit, he would not be considered for the Indian tour,' the release added.
[The Telegraph had reported on Friday that Shoaib might be show-caused.]
Meanwhile, to compound Shoaib's problems further, some players have reportedly asked the PCB to omit him from the India-bound squad.
Top players including skipper Inzamam-ul Haq, Yousuf Youhana, Abdul Razzaq, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Rana Naved-ul Hasan and Salman Butt have all decided to insist on omitting Shoaib from the tour, a local daily reported on Friday.
The players have threatened to boycott the remainder of the Australian tour and the series against India if the fast bowler was included, the paper claimed.
However, dismissing talk of any revolt, PCB media director Abbas Zaidi said: 'There is no such thing and they are all playing for the country, doing their job as a unit,' he said.
On Shaharyar Khan's reported comments that Shoaib could face the axe, Zaidi said the PCB chairman had only stated that the speedster would be considered if he was fully fit.
Whatever the official version may be, a question mark does hang over Shoaib's inclusion in the India-bound squad, especially as the team has done well since the fast bowler left Aussie shores.
Shaharyar, meanwhile, has indicated that Haroon Rashid may be retained in the management team for the India series, contrary to earlier reports that he would be replaced.
'We have taken no decision on changing him (Haroon) as yet. The factual position is that we are looking to appoint a manager for the Indian tour keeping in mind the sensitivities involved,' Shaharyar was quoted as saying by another paper.