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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Former players criticise Pakistan team picks

Former Pakistan cricketers Tuesday lashed out at the team selection for the forthcoming two-Test series against the West Indies, while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria accused authorities of ignoring him.
Pakistan on Monday named a 15-man squad for the series in the Caribbean, ignoring Kaneria and Kamran Akmal and axing wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal.
The selection committee gave no reason for dropping the three players but Pakistani media reported that Kaneria did not get clearance from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), while Kamran was dropped for his poor performance in the World Cup.
Kaneria, the subject of a criminal investigation in England last year over allegations that he was involved in spot-fixing in a Pro40 county match between Essex and Durham in 2009, but later cleared, expressed anger.
"I can't understand why they have dropped me after I was cleared by the Essex police and that letter of clearance has been submitted to the PCB," Kaneria told AFP.
"I have submitted whatever details I had... but now no board official picks up my phone and no answer is given to me," added the 30-year-old bowler, who has taken 261 wickets in 61 Tests -- the most by a Pakistani spinner.
"I have served my country for over 10 years and don't deserve such treatment. When no charges were levelled against me and police cleared me, then why the PCB is treating me like this?"
A former chief selector, Salahuddin Ahmed, said the PCB had displayed double standards in not selecting Kaneria.
"The PCB had said Kamran, Shoaib Malik and Kaneria needed clearance but they selected Kamran for the World Cup and excluded Malik and Kaneria.
"This time they didn't take both Kamran and Kaneria. I think Kaneria is a world class spinner and deserved a place in the Tests," said Ahmed.
All three of those players were summoned before a PCB "integrity committee" in January, after which only Kamran was given clearance. The committee was formed on the advice of the International Cricket Council following the spot-fixing scandal in England last year.
Ahmed described other choices as unjust.
"The members of this selection committee don't go to the grounds and judge players on their own and they also hide from coming in front of the press to give reasons for selection, simply because they are murdering merit every time," he said.
Another former chief selector, Iqbal Qasim, said Pakistan's selections had been inconsistent.
"After his brilliant wicket-keeping in New Zealand where he took eight catches in a Test last year, Adnan deserved a place in the Test team. It is total injustice against a youngster," Qasim said.
"I don't know what type of rebuilding they (selectors) talk about when they eliminated a deserving youngster."
Former leg-spinner Abdul Qadir also attacked the selectors, saying they must explain Adnan's omission.
"Ignoring a youngster who has performed well behind the stumps is an injustice," said Qadir, another former chief selector, who resigned over interference in selection in 2009.
Pakistan play the first of two Tests in Guyana from May 12. The second Test starts in St. Kitts from May 20.
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