Pace attack December 29, 2006

Shoaib's New Year curse

The first major controversy of Shoaib Akhtar's career was at its height over a New Year period
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The first major controversy of Shoaib Akhtar's career was at its height over a New Year period. He had been called for throwing and urgent negotiations between Tauqir Zia, the chairman of Pakistan's cricket board, and his pal Jagmohan Dalmiya, the president of the ICC, ended in Shoaib's return to international cricket in front of a cheering crowd in Australia.

With Pakistan's squad announcement for the South African Test series, Shoaib finds himself sitting it out again over New Year with the prospect of a recall for the one-day series. You suspect that the spectre of WADA has something to do with this too. Personally, I'd have taken him to South Africa to ensure he regains fitness under the scrutiny of team management. Unless Shoaib--like Mohammad Asif--is banned by the ICC, Pakistan need him back fit and in form for the World Cup, and that means he has to play the one-day series in South Africa.

For Shoaib's part, he needs to be careful. It is clear that he enjoys considerably less sympathy from the Pakistani cricket fraternity than Asif does. This remains a dangerous period in his career. And if his fitness continues to fail he will rapidly lose the remnants of support he has among Pakistan cricket fans. The public loves to celebrate heroes but it also loves nothing more than cursing fallen idols. Shoaib has to put concerns about WADA to one side and show that he is ready to play if he is allowed to. Anything else will be negligent. Can Shoaib--and the Pakistan selectors--rise to the challenge?

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • areeb on January 24, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    hi kamran how r u the pcb surely have something against shoaib for me hes a top player and pakistan really need him leaving him out wasnt a right thnig and everyone knows it wasnt because of a 'hamstring injury" i also imran farhat gives way to imran nazir. imran farhat is a poor batsmen who doesnt learn from his mistakes and always his innings have been innings with lots of chances to me a very chancy player. i certainly feel salman butt ibeing harsh done he should get a chance a much more talented player after all he has 100 against australia in sydney he must be good to do that. last of all kamran akmal no matter how good a batsmen he is he has no idea how to keep which is his primary job too many miss catches too may miss stumps too much to the extent that they cost pakistan matches . z haider sho

  • Wasif on January 24, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    Pakistan's Notty boy (Shoaib) Always left Pakistan in No-mans land.A recent contoversy with Coach makes a very bad imperssion in the praperation of World Cup. If Pakistan has to made some Impression on critics of cricket They should avoid such blunders in field and Off the Field.

  • ~FAWAD~ on January 24, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    The enigmatic Shoaib is no stranger to controversy since he made his debut in 1997 and it is also no secret that he has had an uneasy and at time stormy relationship with captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Woolmer.

    Shoaib had to face a medical inquiry after a lost test against India in Rawalpindi in April 2004, when in similar circumstances he came out to bat, but didn't bowl afterwards at the fag end of the long Indian innings claiming he had a hamstring problem, leaving Inzamam unhappy and leading to him showing his emotions in the dressing room in full view of everyone.

    The inquiry however cleared Shoaib of faking his injury but afterwards he was not selected for tours to India and West Indies under Inzamam's captaincy in 2005 with the selectors insisting he was not match fit.

    Ironically the same reason was given out when after being cleared of a doping charge, he was not picked in the original touring squad for South Africa earlier this month and only went to South Africa on the intervention of Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chief as young pacer Umar Gul injured his ankle...

  • ~FAWAD~ on January 24, 2007, 4:43 GMT

    I think that was a great move to send him back .. pakistani Selectors and Captain have been toward his side many times but .. not havent shown capacity yet. SO SOHAIB.. stay home and see how boys plays.. learn from them.. COZ SPEED THIRILLS but KILLS too !

  • Hashim on January 18, 2007, 6:31 GMT

    I pray to God to guide Shoaib. I`ll always support Shoaib. He`s a real cricketer

  • borat on January 6, 2007, 17:54 GMT

    After the latest controversial team selection by PCB. If the reason for not selecting `Shoaib` is simply `Inzi`; then its time PCB should say to Inzi,``You`r fired!`; the reason is simple; if u look at the whole last year of Inzi, no doubt he has won matches for Pakis single handedly:)- and dats the reason he was chosen to be a captain. But with the Oval controversey & then Shaharyar` resig, dopin case;Inzi has responsibility too; he is more thinking as an administrator then just a player who has to serve for the country. its time to fire Inzi, coz of his personal ego towards more deserved players. As we have examples of disgrace like `W Akram as a captain`- Its unfortunate in Indo-Pak; that power is used for the personal benefits than for the country. Soultion is simple; bring back shoaib- if Inzi and Yunis have probs with that? they` both should be sent bck to home as respect of country should be more important than their personal games... (with this ego in players; we will have no chance in world cup anyway) Power is given to `SERVE` and not to `RULE`.

  • borat on January 6, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    After the latest controversial team selection by PCB. If the reason for not selecting `Shoaib` is simply `Inzi`; then its time PCB should say to Inzi,``You`r fired!`; the reason is simple; if u look at the whole last year of Inzi, no doubt he has won matches for Pakis single handedly:)- and dats the reason he was chosen to be a captain. But with the Oval controversey & then Shaharyar` resig, dopin case;Inzi has responsibility too; he is more thinking as an administrator then just a player who has to serve for the country. its time to fire Inzi, coz of his personal ego towards more deserved players. As we have examples of disgrace like `W Akram as a captain`- Its unfortunate in Indo-Pak; that power is used for the personal benefits than for the country. Soultion is simple; bring back shoaib- if Inzi and Yunis have probs with that? they` both should be sent bck to home as respect of country should be more important than their personal games... (with this ego in players; we will have no chance in world cup anyway) Power is given to `SERVE` and not to `RULE`.

  • QAZI on January 5, 2007, 16:42 GMT

    ILL due respect MR tariq hafiz ........this is a place for people to give out thier comments n say what they want too ...... if u want to say pathetic stuff then plzz go n join a chatroom

  • Farhan Mughal on January 5, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    I think Shoaib needs to show some responsibility. He is among the senior players of the team and he has to become a role model for the young players but in fact he is doing the opposite. People are tired of new controversies arising about him every now and then. Shoaib enough is enough!!! He should learn lesson from his mistakes rather than repeating them. I hope being out of cricket for few months would teach him something and BE RESPONSIBLE.

  • tariq hafiz on January 5, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    after reading several of the comments i feel disgusted that how can so- called Pakistani fans can trash mohd sami. ipray to God that sami proves all of these pathetic people completely WRONG .

  • areeb on January 24, 2007, 15:44 GMT

    hi kamran how r u the pcb surely have something against shoaib for me hes a top player and pakistan really need him leaving him out wasnt a right thnig and everyone knows it wasnt because of a 'hamstring injury" i also imran farhat gives way to imran nazir. imran farhat is a poor batsmen who doesnt learn from his mistakes and always his innings have been innings with lots of chances to me a very chancy player. i certainly feel salman butt ibeing harsh done he should get a chance a much more talented player after all he has 100 against australia in sydney he must be good to do that. last of all kamran akmal no matter how good a batsmen he is he has no idea how to keep which is his primary job too many miss catches too may miss stumps too much to the extent that they cost pakistan matches . z haider sho

  • Wasif on January 24, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    Pakistan's Notty boy (Shoaib) Always left Pakistan in No-mans land.A recent contoversy with Coach makes a very bad imperssion in the praperation of World Cup. If Pakistan has to made some Impression on critics of cricket They should avoid such blunders in field and Off the Field.

  • ~FAWAD~ on January 24, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    The enigmatic Shoaib is no stranger to controversy since he made his debut in 1997 and it is also no secret that he has had an uneasy and at time stormy relationship with captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Woolmer.

    Shoaib had to face a medical inquiry after a lost test against India in Rawalpindi in April 2004, when in similar circumstances he came out to bat, but didn't bowl afterwards at the fag end of the long Indian innings claiming he had a hamstring problem, leaving Inzamam unhappy and leading to him showing his emotions in the dressing room in full view of everyone.

    The inquiry however cleared Shoaib of faking his injury but afterwards he was not selected for tours to India and West Indies under Inzamam's captaincy in 2005 with the selectors insisting he was not match fit.

    Ironically the same reason was given out when after being cleared of a doping charge, he was not picked in the original touring squad for South Africa earlier this month and only went to South Africa on the intervention of Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chief as young pacer Umar Gul injured his ankle...

  • ~FAWAD~ on January 24, 2007, 4:43 GMT

    I think that was a great move to send him back .. pakistani Selectors and Captain have been toward his side many times but .. not havent shown capacity yet. SO SOHAIB.. stay home and see how boys plays.. learn from them.. COZ SPEED THIRILLS but KILLS too !

  • Hashim on January 18, 2007, 6:31 GMT

    I pray to God to guide Shoaib. I`ll always support Shoaib. He`s a real cricketer

  • borat on January 6, 2007, 17:54 GMT

    After the latest controversial team selection by PCB. If the reason for not selecting `Shoaib` is simply `Inzi`; then its time PCB should say to Inzi,``You`r fired!`; the reason is simple; if u look at the whole last year of Inzi, no doubt he has won matches for Pakis single handedly:)- and dats the reason he was chosen to be a captain. But with the Oval controversey & then Shaharyar` resig, dopin case;Inzi has responsibility too; he is more thinking as an administrator then just a player who has to serve for the country. its time to fire Inzi, coz of his personal ego towards more deserved players. As we have examples of disgrace like `W Akram as a captain`- Its unfortunate in Indo-Pak; that power is used for the personal benefits than for the country. Soultion is simple; bring back shoaib- if Inzi and Yunis have probs with that? they` both should be sent bck to home as respect of country should be more important than their personal games... (with this ego in players; we will have no chance in world cup anyway) Power is given to `SERVE` and not to `RULE`.

  • borat on January 6, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    After the latest controversial team selection by PCB. If the reason for not selecting `Shoaib` is simply `Inzi`; then its time PCB should say to Inzi,``You`r fired!`; the reason is simple; if u look at the whole last year of Inzi, no doubt he has won matches for Pakis single handedly:)- and dats the reason he was chosen to be a captain. But with the Oval controversey & then Shaharyar` resig, dopin case;Inzi has responsibility too; he is more thinking as an administrator then just a player who has to serve for the country. its time to fire Inzi, coz of his personal ego towards more deserved players. As we have examples of disgrace like `W Akram as a captain`- Its unfortunate in Indo-Pak; that power is used for the personal benefits than for the country. Soultion is simple; bring back shoaib- if Inzi and Yunis have probs with that? they` both should be sent bck to home as respect of country should be more important than their personal games... (with this ego in players; we will have no chance in world cup anyway) Power is given to `SERVE` and not to `RULE`.

  • QAZI on January 5, 2007, 16:42 GMT

    ILL due respect MR tariq hafiz ........this is a place for people to give out thier comments n say what they want too ...... if u want to say pathetic stuff then plzz go n join a chatroom

  • Farhan Mughal on January 5, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    I think Shoaib needs to show some responsibility. He is among the senior players of the team and he has to become a role model for the young players but in fact he is doing the opposite. People are tired of new controversies arising about him every now and then. Shoaib enough is enough!!! He should learn lesson from his mistakes rather than repeating them. I hope being out of cricket for few months would teach him something and BE RESPONSIBLE.

  • tariq hafiz on January 5, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    after reading several of the comments i feel disgusted that how can so- called Pakistani fans can trash mohd sami. ipray to God that sami proves all of these pathetic people completely WRONG .

  • Adnan Hassan on January 4, 2007, 20:36 GMT

    I think that was a great move to send him back .. pakistani Selectors and Captain have been toward his side many times but .. not havent shown capacity yet. SO SOHAIB.. stay home and see how boys plays.. learn from them.. COZ SPEED THIRILLS but KILLS too !

  • Tasawar Hussain on January 4, 2007, 12:19 GMT

    Fully fit Shoiab Akhtar is an esset for Pakistan Cricket team, Inzi and Bob said these words several time in recent years. But i dont know why some time media try to create controversies out of no where. I think with World cup round the corner it is a very wise move not to select Shoaib for test matches and risk injury because fully fit Shoaib is and will be an asset for Pakistan team in world cup. So it is much better to keep Shoiab out of team for the test series and let him regain his full fitness and best form and then ease him into one dayers. Because "WORLD CUP" is the most important assignment for Pakistan team. So it is a wise decision and i would request everybody please dont create controversies and damage team's morale......espesially Pakistani media....

  • Naeem Amin on January 4, 2007, 11:01 GMT

    hi everyone Shoaib's exclusion from the squad is very disappointing. South africa will be very relieved because of this. But again it may have its own reasons. I mean v have recently seen in 20 twenty that shoaib is not that shoaib what he used to be. May be because of fitness problems or excessive weight. Shoaib must sort out his increasing weight and fitness problems. PCB has gambled again by including M Sami in test squad. Batting line also don't look promising apart from Yusuf. anyway best of luck to Pakistan team. I really wish them hammering south africa in south africa. Ok, cheers bye.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on January 4, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    Everytime Shoaib is out of the team, he seems to gather a lot of sympathy from the public. He leads people to believe that he is the most innocent guy around.

    However, once he becomes a part of the team, he always manages to find new ways in which to disgrace the whole nation.

    I am surprised that many people still dont see the pattern.

    International cricket seems to bring out the worst in Sami. His record is becoming worse. His bowling average last year was 66 !!! I think the other 20 players in the squad, including batsmen, have a better bowling average than that...

    Why do we need a 17-man squad anyways ?!?!

  • Jamil on January 4, 2007, 4:05 GMT

    Not targeting our respectable readers on this page, who the hell is Malcom Speed to judge Shoaib. I agree that performance and not reputation should determine the position in team. If that is the case, why do teams keep Maliks (Saleem I mean, and Shoaib I want too), Ijaz's, Waughs (Mark that is), Sarwans, Tendulkars (all due respect), Sehwags etc etc. They are kept for their reputation. They create fear in the oppositions, keep opposition thinking, exert pressure on the other side. Shoaib is not a terrible bowler, his track record may not be legendary, and opposition is always scared of him. Who would have thought that Tendulkar will be booed in his own country by his own people but he was and he stayed in the team. How many great innings did he play in the last 5 years - not even 5. Shoaib's time will be over in another couple of years if he maintains the same pace or may continue for another 5 years if he turns to be a seamer. Jeff Thompson had a pathetic record outside Australia and yet he was the scariest bowlers of all times. His sheer presence was enough to justify his position in the team. Same is the case with Brett Lee. It is only recently that he has become more of a useful bowler. Jayasuriya have hit daylights out of him. So my argument is: we need Shoaib even for mere presence. That's why today Inzi said that Shoaib might be there for 1-day matches and his name is in the reserves list. With Shoaib, Asif, Gul, Rana and Kaneria, Pakistan is already top contender for world cup along with Australia. Inzi's ego is not bigger than importance of Shoaib in the team.

  • sul on January 4, 2007, 0:47 GMT

    GET SAMI OUT PLZ!!! he is a talentless waste of space in the pakistan cricket team! the PCB have to sort themselves out, they are a JOKE! Inzi has to learm how to be a good captain and shoaib has to learn to keep himself out of the papers for reasons opther than cricket! we gonna get hammered in s africa coz we only hve 3 batsmen of any class: YUSUF, INZI n YOUNIS! hve fun boys!

    SAMI WORST BOWLER EVER !!!

  • khansahab on January 3, 2007, 21:19 GMT

    i don't know why people are garnering their support for shoaib in such a way. i ask people to remember the times when shoaib has let pakistan down, whether it has been for ball tampering or for general attitude problems. remember what malcolm speed said about shoaib- "it will be for history to judge akhtar" and i think he is right. i don't think he said that because some people think he is racist. rana naved and mohammad asif performed admirably in the 20/20 cup recently played. in fact sialkot won the final because of the opening spell of these bowlers. shahid nazir is in good form and umar gul is dependable, even sami has shown signs of coming into form recently. i believe pakistan do not need shoaib to win this upcoming series or the world cup for that matter. what they really need is a solid opening pair. for those people who believe there are "conspiracies" against akhtar, you need to watch his attitude while he is playing.

    and before anyone starts accusing me that personal religion/beliefs don't have anything to do with performance on field, that is probably right but general attitude, behaviour with management and a sleazy character do damage the country's pride and reputation.

  • Aftab Qureshi on January 3, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    I am prompted to say a bit more following my earlier short comment. I am amazed and pleased in equal proportion that so many people in so many countries around the world feel so passionately, never mind positive or negative, about Shoaib Akhtar. I personally would have loved to see him bowl at his meanest best in South Africa but, to me, it is team that is always above the individual, country above celebrity. I have enjoyed reading those of the comments that did not smack of love or hate for Shoaib. The best comment in my view came from Sikander Rashid, and I thank him for saying that the real reason to keep Shoaib back may be because he may still be testing positive to Nandrolone. I am inclined to believe that this is a correct assumption (otherwise, it is hard to imagine that Mr. Shoaib Akhtar remaining quiet). And if that is the case, then, by keeping him back, the captain/coach, the selectors and the Board have in fact protected Shoaib from a WADA/ICC-ordered dope test that would surely have driven the last nail in the coffin of his bowling career. I plead with readers, writers and mediapersons: please do not contribute to creating a controversy that is totally unnecessary and could be fatally damaging to pakistan cricket.

  • Shahbaz Faheem on January 3, 2007, 9:17 GMT

    I think Shoaib exclusion was a right decision. Players should not be picked on their reputation but performance. However, the selection of Sami and Imran Farhat shows that PCB is till run by bunch of jokers who do not have an iota of cricketing knowledge. I am sure Sami & Farhat might not get selected even in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe team.

  • minhaj on January 3, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    I agree with PCB's decision to not to tak the rawalpindi express to SAF bcz if WADA win the case against PCB and shoaib and asif both are found guilty then all the matches that Pakistan play in SAF with asif and shoaib in the team will all be considered as a forefite under WADA laws whch state that if two players of a certain team are found guity of drug abuse playing in the same match, the match has to be forefited by that team. I donot know if this ios what PCB selectors had this in mind or not but if they had to make choice btween asif or shoaib asif is defenatly the better of two.

  • BILAL TARIQ on January 3, 2007, 5:25 GMT

    I beleive that shoaib has been victim of poor politics of Pakistan Cricket and his irrational behaviour. We must remember he is really quick Fast Bowler and Fast Bowlers are Known to be Temperamental . He has the potential and has demonstrated amply to single handedly propel Pakistan to victory on any Track againt any Team ( incuding invincible Australians) Just his presence in the ground creates panic in timid opposition. Just Remember When England came here with their confidense high after defeating Australia in Ashes how he on docile Tracks messmeraised them with his genius and sheer pace. There is not much Technicque in Coaching manuals to handle geniune Fast bowlers except your instinctive reflexes.He can dissect mediocre from Class batsmen. Only a real Classy World Class can manage him. He pushes opposition batting on backfoot which assists other bowlwers to penetarate easily. He demolishes the top order so that other Fast bowlers and especially spinners polish off the middle order. I beleive he has been poorly handled by Pakisatn Skipper Inzimmam so was sami. Good Captains must know the art of getting the Strengths of their Key Players. We must remember it was shoaib who took pakistan to 99 World Cup Final. We are making great mistake by not making him part of Pakistan World Cup squad.

  • NAYAB MOHAMMAD on January 2, 2007, 22:19 GMT

    hi everyone.first of all i have read all the comments..about shoaib..that he is cheater,druger..and a useless..etc etc..but i just want to make you guys clear.look at his static.that he have bowl in lower speed..and have given problem to english batsmen.i truly agree with mr.AZIZ that shoaib have done fastest bowling in 2003 and before that he was tested negative from all these tests..so it means that he have that power to bowl.and mr EA Miran..the reasearch that you have given plzz.every one read that..and then conclude something..Shoaib is the best bowler..and the match winner player..and as far mr david furrows u have said taht shoaib have taken 165wkts in 9yrs..as u all are saying that he play 1 or 2 matches and then unfit for rest of the serious..so in shoiabs 9yrs career..just have a look that how much he have played..and then from all that he have taken 165wkts..so plz..think..shoaib is bets..and we need him in world cup..and as far the point comes that he has not been selected so i wana say that it is not right..he should be selected for sa..he should be selected..may not make him play all test matches..but if he would be with the team..he would easily regain his fitness..with all the members..and with coach..not bob..but with bowling coach..and inzy.plz stop favoritism..plz stop it..just see that shoaib is so necesarry for thta world cup..an dfor shabbir..he need practice..and sami..its is hellllll..let see what he will show..and blog writer..Kamran..plz d show this all to inzy..and bob..the public know every thing.

  • Amyn Habib on January 2, 2007, 19:49 GMT

    Even if Shoaib Akhtar was half fit and hung over after a night of hard partying—he would still be a much more formidable and effective strike bowler than any other Pakistani option (although Asif may be gaining on him). There is no question that he has fitness and other issues—and on a bad day he can be totally ineffective. But he has also provided high quality (and on occasion, superb) performances with a fair bit of consistency. His strike rate in both forms of the game is superb (45.3 in tests and 30.1 in ODIs). To some, cricket is a “gentleman’s game”, where players are expected to act as well behaved little school boys (no cursing at the umpire!—unless you are Ponting). Shoaib does not quite behave, but (if fit) is an exciting and talented bowler. It would be a shame if he were excluded just because Inzi Bhai (or some other bhai) does not approve…

  • Shehzad Ghani on January 2, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    As I understand and if I am not wrong, Shabbir Ahmed had been playing domestic cricket even before lifting of his ban. Then why isn' he still match fit? What would make him match-fit? Also, is Pakistan playing any more test cricket after February for almost 8-9 months? Aren't we wasting test careers (which is the real cricket) of our valuable bowlers? Forget World Cup, it is just a long showcase tournament by ICC.

  • Ali Hasan is da man on January 2, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    Comments about Mr. akhtar is correct. he should be sacked becuase of his fitness reasons. I didnt understand a word of mr. ali hasan's comment but it was nice to read different kind of english.

  • WALEED on January 2, 2007, 17:20 GMT

    hey guys ........first of all EID MUBARAK to ya all ......i think its a good decsion by the pcb to let shohaib sit n rest for the SA series.lets look at the past...... pak tour of india ...shoaib didnt play n performed exxcellent in eng tour of pak then didnt play the test in pak tour of eng n performed exxellent in the ODIS .maybe if he is sitting int this 1 as well who knows .....he could win the WC for pakistan..LETS HPE FOR THE BEST

  • nasir on January 2, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    Pakistan has, and can do well without Shoaib. After all he does play less than half of the team's games anyway. We did not win the 99 or 2003 World Cup with him undoubtedly at his peak so to count on him in 2007 is misplaced confidence.

    We have enough bowlers like Naved, Gul, Asif to take caer of opponents. Its our batting that is the main concernand will be our achilles heal, not fogetting our woeful fielding.

  • Shahid Bashir on January 2, 2007, 14:36 GMT

    It is too much with Shoaib, we are just loosing our even world's great and fastest bowler.....

  • Kaim on January 2, 2007, 6:28 GMT

    I think the reason for dropping shoaib akhtar is World Cup, they want him to play in world cup directly or in One day against south africa to get a rhythem. They dont want to take a chance for any further controversy over him. Simon Tuffel (Umpire) will be in South Afica & Pakistan clash where he is ready to do what ever he can with shoaib bowling action like calling him chuck bowler. So i personally believe they dont want to use shoaib akhtar in test matches also where he is to bowl a lots of overs and very strong chances to get a injury as usual. they want him to play only one day against South Africa and World Cup. now friends what do you think ? i think you will be now thinking in this way too...

  • zulfiqar ali on January 2, 2007, 6:13 GMT

    a fit shoaib should always be the first choise and i do not think that he is not fit . this is gross injustices and reasons are non cricketing. but, again this what pakistan cricket is all about. it is the right of all cricketers to get a fair deal and i am afraid that this time round a proven match winner has not been treated fairly.

  • Cirk on January 2, 2007, 0:28 GMT

    Shoaib said himself in a tv interview that he is no fit enough to play INternational cricket. Why he's not fit, u'll have to ask him but if someone says they r unfit, i would leave them. N d rest of ye, have some optimism. Pakistan r gonna win d southafrica series n they will beat d Aussies to next time. (No McGrath or Warne Woooo)

  • Jibran on January 1, 2007, 21:44 GMT

    According to me PCB is wrong not to select Shoaib bcz if shoaib says he is fit u should take him bcz he is a senoiur player n we should respect him n abt sami selection it is write bcz shabbir havnt played for last year

  • Sach on January 1, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    Drugs in the bloodstream theories aside there are three good reason for not taking Shoaib to SA for the test matches: 1) The World cup. Pakistan need him fit for it. His body cannot handle the rigours of 5 day cricket. He can cope with 3 or 4 one dayers though. 2) The future. Shoaib will not be around much longer so new spearheads need to be found in his absence, the SA tour is a perfect opportunity for players such as Gul to gain more confidence leading the attack. Shoaibs like a Lamborgini, fast and furious but is not reliable and never lasts long! 3) Controversy. If he played in the SA series everyone would be talking about the drugs issue which would be detrimental to Palistans team spirit.

  • David Furrows on January 1, 2007, 11:36 GMT

    I apologise if this is beginning to sound like a private feud with Javed A. Khan, but I would just like to return to a couple of his Shoaib assertions.

    I did not say that Shoaib had seven times the "normal" level of anabolic steroids: I said that he had seven times the "legal" level. That is a statement of fact, my friend.

    Secondly, even though Haseeb Ahsan and Justice Ebrahim got carried away with their whitewash, the fact is that WADA rules - and both the ICC and nation of Pakistan are WADA signatories - effectively assume that if your nandrolone level is as grotesquely, comically elevated as Shoaib then you are an anabolic steroid abuser.

    I remember being enthralled by Shoaib's demolition of opposing batsmen at Colombo and Wellington. But while I am genuinely sad at the retirement of another drug cheat with a fairy tale alibi tomorrow, I'm conscious that S.K. Warne at least took his (admittedly insufficient) punishment like a man and took over 700 Test wickets.

    Shoaib, in contrast, has just 165 Test wickets in 9 years, and that is a shockingly poor return at the end of such a promising career.

    Perhaps Waqar Younis in 2003 had the best advice for Shoaib: "Just shut up and bowl, mate, shut up and bowl".

    Unfortunately, for most of the last nine years he had better things to do.

  • Aqif on January 1, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    Why is sami in the team?! The reason that shoaib was not his best in the 20/20 is loads of bull poo. Sami has not been his best from day 1! The idea of seeing long term prospects in sami is also nonsense. the guy just doesnt have it in him. Shoaib should be in, he should be recalled! I protest! What on earth is wrong with PCB?!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 1, 2007, 7:30 GMT

    In one of my previous posts I said, Dr. Nasim Ashraf the Chairman of PCB is a "joka" and some people were upset with my remark. I think he is proving to be more than that. His recent handling of the doping issue, poor team selection and now re-appointing Mushtaq Ahmad as the assistant bowling coach for the SA tour is a proof of his indecisive thinking and lack of decision making capabilities, which in my opinion is very harmful for the game of cricket in Pakistan.

    The way Mushtaq was pulled out hours before the team's departure to India for reasons best known to Nasim Ashraf, who referred him as "irrelevant staff." Now, 10 weeks later he has reappointed Mushtaq with a word of praise by saying: "Mushtaq is capable of serving the team and he has impressed me a lot with his cricketing knowledge and I think he can be a better choice for the South African tour."

    Whao what a joka! What happened? Why this sudden U-turn? First a stupid decision and then self negation to what he earlier believed, said and did. So, what kind of a Chairman is he?

    I think General Musharaf should chuck this pseudo intellectual "joka" out and appoint a new Chairman. It seems that PeerZamam-ul-Haq has definitely done some wonders in changing his belief system. The rumours of Inzamam giving cold shoulder to Shoaib during the training camp are also surfacing, and all the famous ex-cricketers, not only from Pakistan but also from SA are criticizing PCB's decision for leaving Shoaib's out of the squad there is tremendous pressure on PCB, Inzi and Bobby!

    We should be ready to hear a breaking news ...............SHOAIB TO JOIN THE TEAM IN SOUTH AFRICA!!!!!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 1, 2007, 6:43 GMT

    There are millions of Khans in Pakistan and not all of them are related to each other. Besides, that Khan may be a nightmare for you but, he certainly ain't Akhtar's Holy Father that he takes his advise like a word of Gospel.

  • Aftab Qureshi on January 1, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    I agree with giving Shaib Akhtar a wake up call. I think we can do without him. But it is fact that without him, we will not be putting our best on show in the World Cup. So, I sincerely hope that whatever is going on between him, the board, the selectors and captain/coach, would reach a conclusion that is in the best interest of Pakistan cricket, not any dividual's ego.

  • ahmed aqeel on January 1, 2007, 3:08 GMT

    A bowler like Sami doesn,t even qualify for Zimbawe team. But I don,t know how he keeps on making it to the National team. I don,t know what kind of Pawa he is using to enter the team time and again. His pic was on sale not too long ago on Ebay. I don,t know if somebody wants him, please take him for free anf free pakistan cricket from him.

  • EAMiran on January 1, 2007, 1:59 GMT

    I know the steroid issue is old news; however I must address it within the context of some of the arguments being made here both pro and anti- Shoaib. Lets assume that both Shoaib and Asif have taken steroids. Never mind the legality of the issue ( we all know it was illegal)- was it morally wrong? Elite athletes the world over take performance enhancing drugs - no matter the sport. World atheletic bodies have known this for years, yet the practice has not stopped. Drug testing was initially introduced to catch athletes "red handed" so to speak; however there are many ways to mask the effects of the drugs taken. Lets face it - drug testing nowadays is an eyewash. Athletes with sophisticated medical technology at their disposal will escape the tests, others less blessed (read: athletes from 3rd world countries) will probably get caught - hypocrisy and injustice at its worst. The playing field is level - nobody is cheating anybody else. More and more sprinters can now run a sub 10 second sprint in a 100 metre race - unheard of 25 years ago. This is not just due to better training regimes and nutritional science. Records in all sporting disciplines keep tumbling because of DRUGS! The same athletes without performance enhancing drugs would still be the best of the best, but with the drug their performance becomes consistently spectacular. Likewise, Shoaib can bowl as fast as he can without the use of drugs; however to recover from game to game and the constant injuries that plague him and all bowlers of extreme pace, drugs could be a critical element in his training regimen, as would have been in the case of Asif. Cricket afficionados the world over come to see the fastest and best pace bowlers in the world demolish opposition sides and not some non-descript, robotic medium pace trundlers who are slightly better in pace than club level bowlers. It is not immoral to take performance enhancing drugs in this day and age - just a necessary fact of sporting life. Let us stop all sanctimonious sermons and accept the fact that there is no such thing as drug cheats in professional sports any more.

  • Jibran Baig on December 31, 2006, 23:51 GMT

    Pakistan cricket is a mystery that one may never understand. Why go through all the trouble and expense of hiring Mike Gay (A top class sport's lawyer) to free up your best bowlers when you are not going to utilize them. It is getting to be quite pathetic of a situation. When in the hell we'll get one guy with a brain in the freaken department called PCB. Shoaib Akhtar is a synonym for terror, and South African would be a tid bit worried about facing him. In cricket it is not as much the quality as the name that affects your opposition, no matter what they say the intimidation of a big player is always there; which brings forth quite a bit of mistakes. However, the biggest mistake has already been made by our stupid selectors; when in the hell are we going fire them all.

  • Aziz on December 31, 2006, 21:52 GMT

    @bipin... No disrespect, sir, but he has bowled his fastest bcall in 2003 and he was tested right after that in two weeks and he CLEARED the drug test. HAVE YOUR SAY ON THAT?

  • Omer Admani on December 31, 2006, 21:30 GMT

    Faraz, How else could a man's sanity-- or the lack of it-- be judged if not by his opinions and words? I certainly am not living in my own world where I am "percieving" a cricket revolution. Besides, from not all revolutions have come justice (usually the ones which have been successful have come from people as a whole, not a few "ex-players"). Sami's unluck is not even an argument, so I wouldn't bother to reply to that. What guarantee is there that there won't be favoritism with the quota system? What guarantee is there that the team would become better with the quota system (since we might end up selecting worse players)? And how is a quota system a just system (especially when it is an unfreedom)?

  • John Beamish on December 31, 2006, 20:54 GMT

    Furrows was referring to your illustrious cousin (or is it uncle?)the other Khan who has repeatedly asked Ahktar to cut back on his run-up.

  • Asif Ahmed on December 31, 2006, 20:54 GMT

    I need to address the comments by Faraz about Mohd Sami. First of all, let it be known that I have breathed Pak cricket for 20 years, so my credentials are not in question, even by your standards.

    Surely you cannot deny that Sami bowls at least 3 bad balls an over, completely relieving any pressure that may have been built up in either form of the game. You cannot set a field for bad bowling. A bad ball is a bad ball, and no field placing will offset that, so Inzi should not be blamed.

    Secondly, there is no denying that Sami has some talent, and has had a few effective spells over the course of his career; however, they have been too few and far between. For a team like NZ or India where real fast bowlers are lacking, you would give someone like that latitude to mature because you don't have other options. However, Pakistan is abounding with fast bowlers who have proven to be far more successful given far fewer chances than Sami; in that climate, someone like Sami just does not deserve the chances that he is getting. He has already been given far too many opportunities and he has failed every single time. One good spell at the end of the England series does not warrant continued selection when we have so many better options. Sami has gone from being our spearhead to having been surpassed by everyone who has come to play with him--Gul, Nazir, Asif, Rana, etc.

    He has had more than ample opportunity to prove himself as our premier fast bowler, and it is now time for him to step aside and let the other guys take over.

    That is what is best for Pakistan cricket--I wish our selectors would finally realize that.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on December 31, 2006, 19:42 GMT

    Mr. David Furrows, if you wish to debate this issue in a gentlemanly way then you are welcome, but accusing Shoaib that he used INJECTIONS is a very serious allegation and you should not be saying this with so much authority, especially when you cannot verify it. Also, to say that his nandrolone level was 7 times higher than the normal level is again your own naivety and ignorance. What is normal is a very relative term in science and medicine. I do not wish to go in to that detail again.

    But, it is very obvious that once again you are using your wild imagination or should I say, you are hallucinating? People generally hallucinate when there is a chemical imbalance in their mind or when they are taking drugs? So, what is your prognosis? I would leave you to ponder for a while and answer your question about Shoaib's effectiveness as bowler!

    Your "bitter-half" John Beamish, agrees with you about the drugs thingi, BUT he made it easy for me to nullify your point while he is 'begging' to differ and disagree with you with his statistics, whereas, I am simply stating the fact that you cannot deny the bowling prowess of Akhtar.....Its not just his speed, but his slower delivery was very effective and his "in-dipper" was a total surprise for the English batsmen, and all in all he took 17 wickets in 3 tests against England. And you still call him a spent force or an ancient tearaway? And who is this wise man you are talking about? Bob Woolmer or Inzamam? Gimme a break David.

    Once again you are using your own judicious judgment by saying that Shoaib must have influenced Asif to take drugs! David, are you so easily influenced by your colleagues and peers? If the answer is in affirmative then, I understand your point. And if its in negative, then you should be careful about what you preach and what you practice.

  • Nur on December 31, 2006, 19:41 GMT

    Fully agree with the comment made earlier by Ghalib Taimur. No need to risk injury to Shoaib in Test matches 3 months prior to the World Cup. Actually, given his form and stamina, he will probably break down again if played in the Tests and will be out for another 6 months. He should be picked for the ODI's as a primer though for the World Cup. Rana Naveed, M. Asif, and S. Nazir should all do fine in seam friendly conditions in S. Africa. PCB has it right on this one.

  • musharraf naveed on December 31, 2006, 19:19 GMT

    david furrows! you are right in explaining shoaib´s ability of bowling in test matches, i think pakistan should rely on future greats gul and asif instead of injury prone shoaib in test matches. he is more suitable for shorter form of game , it is wise decision by pcb not to select shoaib for test matches bcoz he will play one test match and will be injured out of game for 6 months as usual which means not available for world cup which is more important than SA series.i am sure he will be back for odis and wc , pakistan can win test matches with gul asif and nazir as it happened in past , shoaib has never won a test series for pak. in his 10 years career except eng home series in which he performed better. so. fans should not get emotional on his non selection it is good decision by pcb for wc plans , and one thing i want to explain sami will only be a 12th player he will not get chance in the presence of gul asif nazir and rana.

  • Mawali on December 31, 2006, 17:37 GMT

    Kamran sahib, just came across this write-up in Dawn's, Internet edition. I quote "Darryl Cullinan, the former South African batsman, has expressed his surprise at Shoaib Akhtar’s exclusion from the Pakistan squad for the forthcoming Test series. “Frankly, it amazes me to hear that Shoaib won’t be coming here with the Pakistan team because the conditions in South Africa suit fast bowling,” Cullinan, now a cricket commentator said Shoaib would have made life awkward for Graeme Smith’s team since he is an out and out fast bowler. The pitches in South Africa usually favour express bowlers and Shoaib is definitely one of them. I don’t think the South Africans will lose much sleep when Pakistan arrive here,” he remarked.

    Just to briefly comment on David Furrow's post. David you would know that fast bowlers, and here I am reffering solely to sheer pace bowlers somewhat like their close cousins baseball pitchers are creatures of habits and more important rythem. Shoaib's passion for bowling is purely driven by speed and speed alone. Seam bowling is not his forte. As it happens Shaoib's contribution to the bowling attack for Pakistan is driven by creating shock through outright pace, which as I mentioned in my earlier post helps other line & lenght seam bowlers. Bowlers like Shaoib are not meant to be used in long spells, instead carefully planned short spells of 4 to 6 overs at a time. Because of the sheer force exerted by FAST bowlers they are more prone to injury then their counterparts seam bowlers, very much what Lee for Australia and Bond for New Zealand have experienced. BTW, in my opinion pace bowlers cannot be judged from the format of 20/20, there just aren't enough overs for them to develop and sustain the rythem over several short spells. Switching gears here. PCB has announced the re-hiring of Former Test leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed as an Assistant coach. Hooray, Inzi Bhai will have more Bhai to have fun with Ain't life just peachy. AMF!

  • John Beamish on December 31, 2006, 17:01 GMT

    I agree with Furrows' comments about Ahktar's illegal drug use but I beg to differ about Ahktar the bowler. He has learnt new skills; most noticeably the slower delivery which proved to be the undoing of many a English batsmen on the last tour of Pakistan.

    I haven't done a statistically valid analysis but looking at the last full test series that he played:

    Bowling O M R W Shoaib Akhtar (1st I) 27 2 99 3 (2nd I) 12.4 1 49 3 (1st I) 27 4 93 2 (2nd I) 11 2 61 3 (1st I) 22 6 45 1 (2nd I) 19 3 71 5 He picked up a 5 for in the 2nd inning of the third test against England. Not exactly the performance of a spent force is it?

  • bipin on December 31, 2006, 17:00 GMT

    dear friend i read all yr comments mostly in favour of shoib snd cry for selection of sami ahead of shabbbir.BUT..you all forget that after dopping test shoieb is now not the player,whom u all belive.his all power is hide in taking drugs.and PCB knew his strenth,from where is comes.so dont feel for him.he is actor and his roll is finish.asif is young man,we shld all thankfull to pcb that even after so much drama,they r giving asif a new life,one more chance to prove his talent without drugs.for him this was 1st crime he did,but i think shoeib have given more b4 this.but he didnt take that seriously.so thas was his last.pcb fought against icc and WADA only for nation pride.now they dont want peak fire in their palm.once is the fault,do same twice is foolish,third is madness.and pcb is not want prove themselve like that.dear all, i m indian but i m also a big eollower of pak cricket and fan of inzi,akram,waqar...etc.. many like shoein came,will coming....pak have many young fast bowler they will give pak her pride in cricket in coming years...bye2

  • Faraz on December 31, 2006, 16:41 GMT

    First of All, Eid Mubarak to All!

    Omer, my judgement is not skewed- it is your perception about Sami that is. As far as I am concerned, you are well entitled to your opinion (which I am not here to change).

    Sami has been very unlucky throughout his career for close LBW shouts, dollies being dropped behind the wicket etc., and Inzamam has absolutely no authority and/or expertise to advise Sami to bowl differently—that’s the job of the bowling coach.

    The hypocrisy you fail to see is that while we spend hundreds and thousands of dollars (foreign reserves that a country like Pakistan dearly needs) over a branded cheater like Shabbir, we equip Sami with the services of a duffer like Inzamam...absolutely rubbish!

    My sanity is well preserved and I thank the Almighty for that. By questioning my opinions and thereby challenging my sanity over it is unreasonable in itself.

    The quota system I speak of is necessary in the absence of a fair selection system. For example, the man-of-the-series of the recently concluded Twenty20, Fawad Alam of Karachi Dolphins, was impeccable against the likes of Mohamad Asif and Rana Naved, yet he was not given any consideration for the national squad.

    And lastly, an unjust system like the one we have in Pakistan—whether it be cricketing affairs or the political infrastructure—has always, in the history of mankind, been overthrown by revolution and radical movement. Read the editorials of newspapers across Pakistan and an ominous resonance of a civil war is all you would decipher. I ask you: why is it like that? Hence, the victimization has no end and that is what I write about.

    Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Pa-indabad!!

    Faraz

  • JS on December 31, 2006, 15:16 GMT

    Shoaib may be a bad influence on the team based on his attitude. He may have been socially involved in unwanted activities per PCB standards (Remember your world cup winning captain Imran Khan having scandals with Zeenat Aman etc.?) ZDid that change selection committies attitude. As a matter of fact, he remained as captain and won the 1992 worl cup. Does this mean that he should not be picked over Sami (The most disastrous failure in Pakistan cricket's history and the most over-rated cricketer). The records speak for themselves. Shoaib's test bowling average of 25.69 vs. Sami's 48.36, strike rate of 45.39 vs. 81.94, twice 10 wickets in a match vs. NONE should speak for itself.

    Mr. Iqbal Qasim, I have seen you playing cricket dropping 2 out of 3 catches you received in the field and yet playing in Pakistan XI. What are your grounds of calling Shoaib unfit for match practice. There is something called a bowler's fear and Shoaib's fear far more greater than Sami's in cricket world. Actually, we have told South Africa to just relax since we do not have Shoib.

    Are we sure Mr. Qasim, Mr. Bari or Mr. ehteshamuddin are not relatives to Mohammad Sami? That's what it looks like to me.

    PCB - Please fix yourself and benchmark Australia to get to their level.

    Thanks.

  • EAMiran on December 31, 2006, 15:09 GMT

    Yet another brainless descision by the PCB. Sami instead of Shoaib - what were they thinking? The problem with Sami is that he has a big red "L" (LOSER) stamped permanently on his forehead. It took me a while to figure it out since I was amongst the many who were initially impressed with his speed and athleticism. Who would you pick - a proven performer, albeit at times self destructive, or a perpetual underachiever with a grotesque test match record? Apparently the PCB has picked the latter and that too for a tour to South Africa where Shoaib's extreme pace and prior experience would be seen by most to be an invaluable asset. As they say, like minds think alike - LOSERS!

  • Adnan Wadud Khan on December 31, 2006, 13:51 GMT

    The right decision by PCB.If you are not fir as SHOAIB IS NOT FIT TO PLAY international cricket, he should be left out and younger players should be given a chance.By saying this I am not taking any of the brilliance from the man, but he needs to paly it straightand right if he wants to be in the game.He palys one test and int he next he is injured , WHAT A MESS !!!!

  • qazah on December 31, 2006, 13:25 GMT

    assalam u alaykum,

    this is another mishap by the selectors. they might have as well have taken sami out of the series. the thing with shoiab is he can come into form from any condition, and since the south african wicket's suit fast bowling, he would be a nightmare to play against.

    p.s. i think they should have given a try to fawad alam (did very well in the twenty20)

  • Basim Shafi on December 31, 2006, 13:07 GMT

    Bad decision by PCB! Shoaib is a vital bowler for Pakistan, hence he should have been included in the team, definitely, instead of Sami.

  • ali khan on December 31, 2006, 13:06 GMT

    I think PCB is bunch of idiots. Nothing wrong with Shoaib Akhtar only we need to chage complete PCB (specially sectors) If i am right say they slected the players on basis of influence. I gave u one example why Asim Kamal and Yasir Hammed was not slected instead they put Javid Maindad nephew is that player is bettwer than two two batsman? not all If u want to have best PCB you got to fire PCB Slectors. I Urge the President of Pakistan to include Shoaib Akhtar and Shaid Afriadi in the all matches People want to see them to play.

  • David Furrows on December 31, 2006, 11:53 GMT

    Javed A Khan takes exception to my assertion that Shoaib Akhtar tested postive at 7 times the legal limit for the anabolic steroid nandrolone due to repeated injection of anabolic steroids. He seems to seek an alternative explanation.

    I find such denial hard to accept. Shoaib refused to have his "B sample" tested and he refused to have the GC-C-IRMS urine test which could have proved (or, more likely, disproved) his initial defence that his body produced the steroids due to his high protein diet and vigorous exercise. He finally fell back on the defence that the supplements he was taking must have been contaminated, but failed to produce them for that claim to be tested!

    It's a moot point anyway. Shoaib has refused to take advice from wiser cricket observers than himself, and as he has entered his thirties has neither shortened his run-up nor mastered conventional swing and cut. He offers nothing more than the remnants of his once-extreme pace, but as far back as two years ago in Australia was already too old to be able to reproduce in the second innings of Test matches the performance which he could put on in short spells in the first innings.

    Even then, in 2004-05, the Australians knew that if they could survive 5 overs - 30 deliveries - from him with the new ball then his threat was basically neutralised. They had worked out how to see him off then, when he was still in his twenties. What hope does he have of bowling out a team twice in a Test match now? All he has left is 20-20 and ODI cricket, because that is all he can sustain his pace for.

    Shoaib had plenty of advice to cut his pace and widen his bowling skills to prolong his career. He thought that he knew better: that he could defy the ageing process by abusing anabolic steroids.

    Well he got busted, and so what do we have left? An ancient tearaway who has not lasted an entire series in living memory. No wonder the selectors have chosen to depend upon Asif instead. I'm just angry that Shoaib probably influenced the naive and ignorant Asif to dabble in drugs in the first place.

  • umar on December 31, 2006, 11:06 GMT

    i think shoaib should make it to the tour 'coz we can't rely on sami,gul or rana as much & shoaib has played a lot in south africa so he should be in the team.

  • Omer Admani on December 31, 2006, 10:59 GMT

    Faraz, I wonder Where do you get these "crude facts"? Secondly, Inzamam did try to influence the way Sami bowls, but I ask you what good was he before that change? Why did Inzamam try to influence the way he bowls?

    I didn't say stats make a fan a fan. Indeed, it his passion for the sport that makes him a fan, but when that fan writes a critique, he is expected to be bound by reasonable judgment.

    "Sami has talent, full stop". You speak like a mother of an ugly child whose eyes have been covered by a viel such that every instance of ugliness in that child turns into beauty for her. To this, I would like to comment that the viel is not in the other's eyes.

    My "Bourgeoisie overtones" ? At this, again, I would like to question your sanity, and the affect that cricket brings to you.

    In a well-respected dictionary, the definition of "totalitarian" is: : of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy. My point was that if there is a coup of ex-players, then we have a system whereby the ex-players function as a dictator. In so far as justice is considered, who gives them this right to replace an authority by themselves (What justifies their authority?). After clear deliberation, you should see this is no better or no worse in regards to justice than the existent PCB. "I am from Karachi but most importantly I am a Pakistani not a Punjabi." Why a quota system which dwells on such differences then? (By the way, I am from Karachi, too).

  • Aftab Amin on December 31, 2006, 10:41 GMT

    Shoaib has never truely impressed me bar the few wickets he mnaged to gain out of sheer pace and poor shot selection from the batsmen. He has for the better part of his career been a tired unfit horse and he doesnt see that there is no "I" in "TEAM", although he is often able to find the "ME". Asif on the other hand is a true prospect who gains his wickets out of his intelligence and skill with the ball. For me Shoaibs career should have been over after the last world cup. Pakistan team has proven that they do not need a one man show and that they are capable of winning without him. Asif is young and up coming he should be saved for the team. BYE BYE SHOAIB....

  • Hussain on December 31, 2006, 8:59 GMT

    I do not think we have got enough depth in our bowling line up in the absence of Shoaib and Shabbir.Because we cannot rely on Muhammad Sami as his past record shows and even Rana who is still to impress in test cricket.And we are left with Asif,Gul and Kaneria, and if Kaneria's unimpressive form continues,Pakistan will surely be in a BIG BIG trouble.

  • shoaeb khan on December 31, 2006, 8:44 GMT

    i think pakistan are going to struggle without shoaib akhtar.asif and shoaib make a combination of mcgrath and lee.

  • farhan khan,Hyderabad,India. on December 31, 2006, 8:01 GMT

    To start with, there are two aspects to this issue,one is, a charged up shoaib,willing to bend his back is the most promising and pleasing sight for pakistan cricket team.But the same shoaib can, at times be erratic,indisciplined & out of sorts.If people can remember well, shoaib was the guy who superceeded the great Waqar Younus,carved a niche for himself but was never a regular feature of the pak team , thanks to his injury prone body, the tendency to get entangled with the controversies, and a huge Attitude problem,and not being able to sustain his consistency over a period of time,all these factors have come forward on most of the ocassions when ever shoaib tried his best to cement his place in the team.Never the less, i feel that shoaib,once cleared of doping should have been picked for the all important South African tour as being with team , whether playing first class tour match/sitting on the bench/being picked among playing eleven ,will be a better manner to get prepared, than to dump him in pakistan and proceed to SouthAfrica and then again expect him to be 100% fit for the 2007 world cup and fire in all cylinders with virtually no international game under his belt for more than 6 months,which is strange!!!!!

  • CB Fry on December 31, 2006, 7:44 GMT

    one thing is for sure: pakistanis love talking about shoaib and they love conspiracies. four things unite the nation: urdu, religion, cricket and inzamam ul-haq. once again inzy is the only one talking any sense (on bigstarcricket.com), let's not forget the maxim of occam's razor before we start rumours: "It was a shame Shoaib (Akhtar) couldn’t make it but he hasn’t played any cricket for three months and even before that he only played a few one-day matches in England, when he had waited about nine months to play cricket after injuries. So he will get his chance now to play some first-class cricket in Pakistan and hopefully he will prove himself and be ready to join us for the one-day series." that's a simple and true enough explanation for me, I don't know about you guys. and don't worry, boom boom lala mad dog afridi will be back too for the WC, inshallah.

  • PakiMD on December 31, 2006, 7:03 GMT

    As long as he is back for the ODIs thats where we need him more...because SA is a very strong ODI team...and a very weak Test team...so we use our bowlers like asif and rana and gul and stuff...for the test...but they should bring back Shoaib for the ODIs cuz pak cant win those without him...

  • Farooq S on December 31, 2006, 6:18 GMT

    It makes me feel like cry that Shoaib and Shabbir are out and Sami is in! UNBELIEVABLE! Ya'all will agree with me that SA will be delighted to this selection.

  • DR Hai on December 31, 2006, 5:15 GMT

    @David Furrows Regarding your Mohammad Sami eulogy, if you do a ctrl+F on this blog, search for Sami and see the # of times he’s been bashed versus the # of supporting messages he has, you’ll get an adequate enough idea of the excess baggage his presence brings in our team. The great Khan has seldom been wrong about things but along with wisdom, age also brings senility. Honestly, how many chances does Sami require to actually prove himself? .. Sami is our Agarkar, only worse .. the difference being, India has stuck with him so long for want of a better bowler while we stick with Sami in the hope that one day his pace might actually translate to wickets. Poor Sami is a dedicated team man but its painfully obvious he deserves to be relegated to gali cricket! The aptitude/proficiency/skill/ability is just sorely lacking! .. if only Shoaib was as dedicated a team man as Sami .. *sigh*

    @David Furrows Interesting take on the steroids completely leaking out of Shoaib’s system before letting him play because he’s been abusing steroids far longer than Asif … oh I’m sorry did I say interesting? I meant outlandish and laughable at best! How far-fetched can a theory get! What makes this hypothesis even less credible is that the ICC won’t randomly carry out dope tests during a bilateral Pak-SA series .. those are normally scheduled for the ICC tournaments, viz Champions trophy, world cup and so forth. Have you ever heard of Occam’s razor? It’s a theory that states when given a set of possible explanations for a phenomenon, we should embrace the least complicated. Point being that on the one hand, you have the PCB not sending Shoaib because of the possible reason you mention and on the other hand you have Shoaib not being sent because he annoyed some of the PCB hierarchy with his notoriously bad behavior. Be smart, embrace the latter and stay away from the fantasy ;)

    Re: Posted by: JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA at December 31, 2006 2:34 AM

    Come come Mr Khan get off the moral high ground already. We're desi people .. being judgemental and assassinating characters is innate. How demeaned and vexed can you honestly feel at a post that wasn't even directed at you?!

  • Muhammad Umair FROM ATTOCK - PAKISTAN on December 31, 2006, 4:13 GMT

    I personally think that Shoaib has not been selected in the test team only because of the POLITICS involved in the PAKISTAN CRICKET BOARD.

    Every one is talking about Sami’s inclusion in the test squad, but no one is talking about FAISAL IQBAL. He had a worst series against England where he got out four times under ten including two DUCKS. Why he has been included in the team?

    If Shoaib would have been selected for the test matches, Pakistan could easily win the test series. But now Pakistan will have to work hard in order to win against South Africa to win. Mohammad Asif, who is known as PAKISTANI MCGRATH, has an excellent line and length. I am 100% sure that he will trouble the South African Batsmen very much (inshaullah). He is a match winner for Pakistan team. No one can forget his performance against Sri Lanka, when Sri Lanka were leading by 109 runs in the 1st innings, he played an important role in winning the match for Pakistan. His average is 21 and has a strike rate of only 38, which is even better than another emerging bowler of the year STUART CLARKE, whose strike rate is 44.

    Briefly, I am not happy at the inclusion of Sami over Shabbir and Shoaib. But, all Pakistani fans should remember that even if we have no Shoaib in our squad, we can win matches. Look at the past two years, the all test matches that Pakistan has lost are all because of BATTING, not BOWLING.

  • Majid on December 31, 2006, 2:43 GMT

    Shoaib can be a great fast bowler and he has performed incredibly at times but he is disruptive to the "team" and unfortunately the "team" is bigger than "Shoaib". Discipline must come first. Besides Shoaib's fitness is questionable at best. I agree that Shabbir is probably our best Test bowler and should have been taken ahead of Sami. Good luck Pakistan!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on December 31, 2006, 2:34 GMT

    sobank says: (December 30, 2006 10:29 PM) "Except David Furrow, hardly anyone is talking sense here."

    sobank; you can be David's Goliath and join him on MSN and start chatting with each other. It will make more sense when the blind will lead the blind.

    For those who have not noticed, lemme quote here what David Furrows wrote in his first post in this thread. He says:

    "I believe that Shoaib abused steroids over a far longer period than Asif, and that he is still testing positive.......Shoaib was abusing anobolic steroids. Not supplements, but steroids, administered by injection."

    How can he be so sure? This is a very serious allegation and you say, "Except for David Furrow, hardly anyone is talking sense here"? How demeaning of him as well as for you, and how convincing it is for you to agree with him, and not only agree, you are nullifying and ridiculing everyone else's opinion by stating that in the opening sentence in your post and that too so blatantly!

    It seems we have "experts" and we have "shrinks" who are calling Shoaib Akhtar, a classical psychoanalysis case, a cheat, a rogue, a dramay baaz with an attitude, a play boy who drinks alcohol, is not married yet has an active sex live and whatnot!!!

    I understand that cheap Tabloids make money through cheap journalism. But, why do people love this kind of Character Analysis of celebrities and famous players in a blog? Is it because we are not as famous as they are? Or is because we feel that we have this birth right to poke our nose into their personal life and start tearing their character it in to bits and pieces? If not, then why can't we restrict ourself to the point of discussing their game or their performance like professionals?

    Aren't we here to express / exchange our views about their game, their performance and the way we perceive it? OR, are we here simply to get distracted by our own perceptions, prejudices, biases, assumptions and expectations against a particular player and start a psychoanalytical session like an expert or like a shrink?

    We are calling PCB with so many names for their favouritism, nepotism, partiality and bhai-bandism, stupidity and so on, YET we are doing exactly the same by showing our dissent towards a particular player that we don't like for whatever personal reasons of likes and dislikes that we have 'against or for' them.

    Lets be fair and stick to the game and their skills, capabilities and their performance rather than attacking them personally with so much vengeance. Its not right. Its not right, morally, ethically and even from religious point of view.

  • Mansoor on December 31, 2006, 1:45 GMT

    Welll....where the hell did sami came from.... opposition gets soo excited when they hear sami is in the line up....and i can't believe they dropped shabbir and shoaib....PCB can never change..i wonder if inzimam had any say in the selection...?

  • Ali Akram on December 31, 2006, 1:23 GMT

    Mr Kamran i think it is the right move. Even when he was fightin the drug issue Asif was active in practice and domestic matches while Shoaib was not. It makes more sence in taking match fit bowlers who wont break or have less chance of breaking down then a shoaib like 4 over blitz. He should participate in Domestic game and improve and prove his match fitness. ODI are still a few week away so he has a considerable chance to prove himself.

  • DR Hai on December 31, 2006, 1:18 GMT

    The message to Shoaib seems fairly crystal .. “start behaving like a good boy because you’re expendable now. We have the in-form Gul and Rana in our ranks as well as the returning Asif so if you want your place back, you better act your place”.

    Personally I’m not particularly inclined to either side of the argument..

    Even without Shoaib the bowling attack is incisive and penetrative (minus the ineffectual Sami) and will surely trouble South Africa on their bouncy tracks. Asif is a future great and his match turning performance in Sri Lanka early this year is testament to his ability to turn a game on its head. He will be a factor in the tests as will Gul. Rana’s ability in the long form is questionable but the potential is obvious. Sami is incompetent and grossly overrated (thanks in part to Imran Khan’s baseless eulogizing) and hopefully will not feature in any game.

    So the question beckons, do we really need Shoaib in South Africa? I reckon he’d surely make our bowling attack stronger (his genius is indisputable, as evidenced by his success against the Aussie batsmen in the past), but his inclusion could be costly to the team. How you ask? Do factors like bad attitude, a massive ego, missing practises, staying out late and causing disharmony in the team ring a bell? We all thought Shoaib had turned the tide and had magically transformed into a mature team-man after that series against England last year. But perhaps his absence from the game has brought the Shoaib of old back. The 20-20 logo incident was certainly reminiscent of a younger Shoaib. If this is the case, then my take on the PCB’s latest selection is that leaving Akhtar out is a good move. The team has gelled well under Inzi and we certainly wouldn’t want an ‘unstick debonder’ messing with the unity even if his wicket taking prowess is undeniable.

    If however, Shoaib has not misbehaved or been acting like the spoilt brat of old, then the PCB’s actual press-released excuse regarding his lack of fitness has no merit. He has bowled enough overs in the local matches! Even more ludicrious is the insinuation that a reason for his non-selection was that he failed to impress in the few games he played! We all know he can turn it on in the big matches and that very reality makes this an absurd reason for not selecting him. The PCB once again springs no surprises with its aberrant decision making. Let’s see if the gamble pays off this time around.

  • Waqas on December 31, 2006, 1:09 GMT

    When Asif emerged in the international cricket last this yr i thought...what a fast bowling duo this going to be "Shoaib and Asif" and in came a slump..I wish pakistani selectors read something like this and decide to surprise us again by selecting shoaib for the tests...Asif and Gul with the new ball and shoaib with the old reversin one.......Then God help SA.

  • haris on December 31, 2006, 1:08 GMT

    PCB is so full of crap thats its not even worth mentioning their screwed up system anymore. A prime example is wrongfully taking a dope test at the wrong time, then banning the players and then restoring their service again. Give us a freaking break loosers. And now when our main strike bowler needs support from the manegment, they dropped him, when he needs their confidance they skipped him. They should have taken him to south Africa and give him a couple of games so he won't lake the match practice, stay fit and wouldn't feel abandoned. I believe Shoaib Akhtar is a gift for any team, but every gift has a price that our twisted PCB lords are not willing to pay. Shame on Iqbal Qasim.....such a looser.

  • Youhana on December 31, 2006, 0:25 GMT

    Pakistan Deserves to lose this SouthAfrica Series. politics have go too far, they are currently riding a high after defeating the lowly westindies squad on possibly the WORST Pitches in the world!

    South African pitches should set them straight, hope they get cleaned out by the likes of Nel, Ntini, Hall, Kallis, Pollock, and Morkel.

  • MN on December 31, 2006, 0:07 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar is a classical psychoanalysis case: One can see grandiosity and bravo in a fast bowler's attitude and repetoire of arsenal, and a case can be made that these characteristics can give fast bowlers a psychological edge. However, I think what has robbed Shoiab Akhtar from resolving his problems is his excessive use of denial and undoing. He exhibiits self-destructiveness, refuses to learn from his mistakes, demands respect but cannot follow any rules, behaves as if he is a superior being, lacks maturity and acts as an infanile. I really believe that Shoaib Akhtar should have sought psychologocal help a long time back because he has to address issues which are characterological and do not disappear unless an individual adresses them in a professional setting. What is really telling is that Shoaib Akhter has a pervasive pattern of the behaviours mentioned above. All he has to do is look up a psychological diagnostic manual to understand his chroic issues. He would have enjoyed enormous success on the field if he had overcome his personality problems. If Inzi was adamant about not taking him to South Africa, it was more likely to be bacuse "Shoaib would have been a distraction." I would urge Shoiab Akhtar to seek professional help because it would help him not only with playing cricket but also help him with personal growth.

  • Khamush Khan on December 30, 2006, 23:51 GMT

    As usual the politics of pakistan Cricket has gotten the best of Pakistan selectors. Personal likings are preferred over National pride. In a game like this where millions of people hold their hopes high for a Pakistan win, the selectors and the "Aaloo" need to wake up from their slumber. Shoaib is such anintimidating figure that his mere presence can make other teams change there plannings and stretigies. The same selectors who were baby sitting a totally irresponsible and irrational, mindless Shahid Afridi for over a year all of a sudden have become conscious of fittness and discipline and are offering their boobs to nurse heshe kids like sami and Faisal Iqbal. Pakistan cricket board and their selection committee sucks at all levels. Mindless, spineless, thoughtless loosers are playing with the hearts and minds of innocent Pakistanis. With the world cup around the corner, they should gain a psychological advantage by putting shoaib in the field and getting their act together.

  • Fareed Nasir on December 30, 2006, 23:47 GMT

    Once, just once I will like to see a pakistani team start a series without contoversies, Once just once i will like to see formidable pakistani pace attack on helpful wickets, Once just once I will like PCB to stop lying and come clean tell us (General viewing public, as unimportant as we might be in thier eyes)why was shoaib actually left out what disciplinary problems were there etc etc and let us be the judge. Once, just once I will like to see Sami being treated as what he is , a very mediocre cricketer. But then as a pkaistani cricket supporter I know even once is too often to ask.

  • Arsalan on December 30, 2006, 23:26 GMT

    First of all i'd like to ask a question to the Pakistan Cricket board that why is Shoaib Akhtar NOT always selected even though he is one of the key bowlers for Pakistan regardless him being in touch or out of it, he is always a threat to the opponents. I do not understand the logic of selecting Sami ahead of Shoaib when Shoaib has got more agression and more discipline in his bowling than him. With Sami the problem is even when he is bowling at his best and is troubling the batsmen, once he gets hit he looses all the concentration that he had gained and starts bowling wayward (I think of it as just throwing a die and expecting the best possible result which is not always there), whereas shoaib, when he bowls he bowls serious even when he goes for many he still manages to take wickets.... Anyways i don't think i should b going in to all of this rubbish just want to know why is sami preferred over shoaib and shoaib is most of the times told to sit back and the excuse everytime is that he is not fully match fit.

    Secondly i would like to inquire about Shabbir Ahmed being dropped out for the South African tour, is he under the same scrutiny as Shoaib Akhtar? Well he should have been picked up for the SA and i guess our batting is not as strong to put up enough runs on the board to trouble strong South African batting line up and even if the Pakistanis bat second, they will experience difficulties chasing even if the bowlers would have done their job. Well i hope everything goes well for Pakistan best of luck against the South Africans. By The Way well played against the Windies... BlEs$

  • Masaood Yunus on December 30, 2006, 23:21 GMT

    Shoaib can sit out for the Test series .. no problem, we can deal with that to ensure he is not injured bowling lots of overs but with the World Cup right around the corner, if he is not selected for the ODIs .. BIG BLUNDER. Sami In ahead of Shabbir .. probably the "Blunder of the Year" by PCB .... c'mon PCB, you need Shabbir to gain fitness playing these tests. A half Shabbir or Shoaib is still 100 times better than a "fully fit Sami". PCB, give me a break !

  • Syed M. Hasan on December 30, 2006, 22:54 GMT

    I think that not taking shoaib was a good idea. When shoaib is around there is a black cloud over pakistan cricket. As for taking Zulqernain Haider i think it was a pretty good idea. I think Kamran should sit out one test so that he can play. Exposing him to internantional cricket now will do a lot of good in the future. The one thing i can't understand is why take Sami nd not Shabbir. Practise games will help himbecome fit. Anyways, Sami has had too many chances if they want to see play good then i say leave him in domestic. Perhaps with players that are just blossoming Sami may look a little bit better. ( I doubt this)

  • Faraz on December 30, 2006, 22:39 GMT

    Omer, this is certainly not a place for personal vendettas but your Bourgeoisie overtones, justifies a befitting reply: Aye, I am from Karachi but most importantly I am a Pakistani not a Punjabi.

    I am a cricket fan by just watching and liking the sport and my country's players. Stats don't make a fan a fan, emotion makes a fan a fan; all the rest comes later.

    Sami has talent, full-stop. When someone has talent, you nurture it, you let it grow, and you make sure it stays a talent, but most of all, you DON'T do what Inzamam did--- and its not some “L`Imaginaire” of what I wrote, but crude facts….For a change, you should start reading Inzamam’s diary in the daily Jang where especially he envisioned for Sami to extract seam from English conditions and nullify his pace.

    What makes you think that a coup is comparable to a totalitarian system. I conjecture you have a fear of a just system being implemented.

  • sobank on December 30, 2006, 22:29 GMT

    Except David Furrow, hardly anyone is talking sense here. Only one thing that people can state which is close the fact that PCB made a mess.

    Sami is a classic case of bowlers pressured high enough to corner them completely. Wasim arkam stated once that he was all time low in his bowling and was close to be dropped because of inconsistent bowling. So imran,the captain, came and told him that forget about everything just bowl. Wasim say he did so and that tour of Australia was turning point of his career. sami is going through the same thing and just needs the real "support" and not "chances". Each time he goes out, I see people just keep on yelling about not getting wicket or scores. well a returning bowler can do only so much. Unfortunately cricket stats dont include how many drop catches etc. otherwise his stats are a little different. Now one more thing in last match his economy is better than all bowlers. now how will he do in SA, well we have to see but now he is under the shadow of waqar and better things will come out.

    droping shoaib is exactly what pcb should have done first. putting a ban till world cup is what they should have done at the first place on both shoaib and asif. First convict them, then let them go clean cut, is just making fun of the whole ICC and wada and they will not let it go. A big fine and ban on shoaib till World cup is what they should have done and then let asif slide through with a fine.

    Now everybody is pretty angry and think that first ban was just nothing.

    Now droping shoaib for SA is just becuase of the chemicals in his blood. his blood wont be clear for a good time and they just cant risk having a failed blood test. Realize it that the blood simply wont be clear.

    But why are we complaining about our bowling selection?????????? even ODIs with WI, the ones that we lost was not because of bad bowling. Hell, we hardly lose a game because of bad bowling. It is always because of bad batting. Keeping Yasir hameed on the sideline wont hide the fact that that is one of very very very few batsman that pakistan had with avg. reaching 40. If anything, Younis should have been dropped to be replaced with yasir. cause younis is an idiot who can be bowled out in three overs. just keep giving him short bowls and he will give a catch. And this thing is so proven that its not even funny. just like one of our openers who was constantly caught behind when playing a ball way out side the off.

    Taufeeq umar, test avg. 39. still out but we are ok with openers who are already figured out by the bowlers.

    The selection team is more about lets through a dice and select players rather than "lets think". Sami should have never been dropped out of team on the first place but rather given a bowling coach and kept him on a hold. But what we did is drop him and then not bring him back as a "lets see have you improved" but bring him back as "man we are in deep shit and had no one else but you so help us out". well good luck on having any real performance.

    Now time for some predictions:

    1- Shoaib will come in SA if the whole wada thing is solved. PCB will bring him back.

    2- If Kamal screws up his battting performance, zulqernain will be given chance. As we all know kamal sucks behind the wicket. and zulqernain can have same effect on the match by not dropping catches that akmal has by dropping catches and making runs.

    3- If asif/sami/umar gul trio works, say bye bye to shoaib or rana. (I think it is going to be rana). shoaib will be killed by wada and rana is just not a run stopper. which people tend to forget because in ODI runs are important and not wickets.

    -----------------------------------------------

    why i think sami is very important in the absence of shoaib: well we have seen it again and again. with mid pacers in service pakistan had so much trouble with taking out tailenders. At that point we need to bring in some raw pace to kill them. no other bowler has something like that to offer.

    And most importantly sami is not used like he should have been. give him a new ball and let him open with asif. Lets trust in him like we did in other bowlers. I mean for long shoaib didnt do much in team. How long Afridi has killed us all with manufacturing the batting pressure by getting out in first 20 balls. But if we let him go on, why not sami have his chances too. Didnt shoaib have more chances then sami. how about aamir sohail and saeed anwar. they were criticized all time for not having runs on board and they turned out to be the finest opening pair that we ever had.

  • K H Rasheed on December 30, 2006, 21:43 GMT

    I do not know the true reason or the inside story of PCC for not selecting Shoaib Akhter for SA tour,but they are making a great mistake in picking up Sami.Shoaib,if he is really not fit to give his 100%,then his 50% performance in bowling and his aggressive hitting to contribute in the score board is much more then 200% of Sami.I also wonder why don't they consider Shabbir who is in my opinion much better than Sami.

  • Mythsmoke on December 30, 2006, 21:39 GMT

    Sum up from last tour to south africa "We now have a fair idea of the conditions in South Africa and will have to go home, gather ourselves and return more positive for the World Cup." Waqar said.

    These chances may have made a difference to the margin of victory, but it was the Pakistan batting that left the visitors in the lurch.

    Apart from the young and relatively inexperienced Taufeeq Umar, making 135 and 67 and who has a great future in Test cricket, the remaining batsmen just never showed enough application or concentration. Far too many batsmen got themselves out after reaching thirties and forties when big scores were expected from them.

    Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana arrived in South Africa with tremendous reputations, but left with their images severely tarnished. The work horses of the Pakistan middle order had failed miserably and the team suffered accordingly. Batting on a pitch that was made to order for the batsmen, no excuse can be given for the inability to bat for long periods.

    Ahh...but we have imran farhat and hafeez/hameed now...the south african bowlers must be losing sleep

  • malik saeed on December 30, 2006, 21:05 GMT

    Inzi has never hidden his dislike for shoaib akhtar.It all started with shoaib wanting to set his own field while Inzi ( who has'nt a clue about setting his bowlers' field anyway ) put his big foot down, reminding shoaib he was the captain and it is his job. More recently, Inzi goes to the press as soon as the two bowlers were banned and talks about the end of shoaib's playing days as he would be too old to return to cricket after the ban. I have never heard of comments more shallow and devoid of compassion for a team mate. I am sure shoaib must have read these comments. On one hand Inzi aspires to be one better than the great I.khan( Have you started to dose off even off the field of cricket as well or what Inzi? ) and on the other he has done everything to eliminate a match winner who can help him achieve even a semblance of the success of Imran Khan. Its about time PCB hierarchy deal appropriately with the biggest prima donna in our criket team Mr. Inzi Haq and restore shoaib to the team for South Africa.

  • Naser Ranjha on December 30, 2006, 21:05 GMT

    Well PCB again with its unfathomable wisdom aka lack of professionalism and plenty of stupidty.

  • Salah Uddin on December 30, 2006, 20:52 GMT

    for God sake plz some1 explain Sami inclusion...and is there anybuddy who is behind Sami's back that he always gets a nod.it is so irritating and frustrating to find out everytime that he is the part of team again..lack of just in the selection of team is pretty evident..Shoaib should have been the part of team as Sami and Rana are no match for him...I know the logo story related to Shoaib but it is known that he is not liked by Inzamam and Woolmer..whatever they say whatever PCB say Shoaib has proved himself almost everytime he has given the chance.its simply they are unable to handle his overall personality in a right manner

  • Mohammad Manzoor on December 30, 2006, 20:38 GMT

    I don't know whats pcb is trying to prove. Why on the earth did they leave shoiab Akhter out of SA's tour? With no shoiab in pakistan team South africa will make bouncy and fast tracks and only they will be benifited out of it because pakistan batsmen are weat at those pitches. With shoiab even not 100% with match practice African would have been relucant to make bouncy tracks and that would have worked out pretty well for pakistan.. I see a complete trashing of pakis in SA both in tests and ODIs. PCB can keep shoiab home or better yet put him on display.

  • Omer Admani on December 30, 2006, 20:32 GMT

    Faraz, I read your earlier post. I see where you are coming from, Sami is from Karachi. But you talk about over-throwing the dictatorial PCB, yet you talk about a coup (a what?!) of ex-players, which, by implication, would replace one "totalitarian" regime for another. You also talk about the quota system, which is again a "restriction" and an "unfreedom", which amalgamates rather well with the original dictatorship. And the other conspiracy theories that you mentioned are an imaginative piece of literature that you could write in a personal diary to show it to your significant others. I understand that you are a very passionate cricket fan but all that emotion and a couple of words of English don't necessarily make a smart cricket fan. And this isn't the ideal place for your personal vendettas either! But, hey, in another era, you might have been Senor Don Quixote!

  • kabir on December 30, 2006, 20:25 GMT

    SHOAB AKHTAR=THE MEDIA MADE BAD BOY OF CRICKET, i feel sorry for shoab akhtar cause the misuse of the power of media is so strong that he is not just hated by whole world but even most of his countrymen,i feel more sad cause its against shoab akhtar who is a legend of todays cricket and the best proven match winner for pakistan when cricket is a game played on ground,a cricketer must be liked or hated by his performance on field,hence nobody has any right to judge a cricketer on the basis of whatever he does of the ground,more unfortunately P.C.B {PATHETIC CRICKET STUPIDS} hates its best cricketer most in the world and controversy will be shoabs twin brother cause of the obsession of worlds media to hate shoab akhtar shoab akhtar has just only 1 way to turn hatred against him by the world into love by joining inzis tabligi jamaat or sadly he will always be remebered for his controversies rather then his performance on the ground

  • vaibhav on December 30, 2006, 20:12 GMT

    Sir,

    THis is in reference to the recent omission of Shoib AKhtar from Pakistan's cricket team. THe idea is simple...not to raise eyebrows of the rest of the world by including the two tainted bowlers immidiately. WIth the WADA(rightly) having objections on the return of Shoib and Asif, this is a long term ploy to employ both of them by gradually getting them in the team.

    IT all started when President Musharraf instructed the bowlers not to make any public statements. Then the authorities pretended to take action against them as an immidiate pardon would raise voices in the media. Then (surprise! surprise!) came the inevitable...both the bowlers were went away scott free! NOw dropping Shoib on the account of fitness...the idea is just to keep him and the whole issue in the background. WHy would media or anybody have objections on a bowler who is not even playing.

  • alabla on December 30, 2006, 19:37 GMT

    pakistani slectors surprise me every time they announse the team. how sami makes it agin. amaizing! does it make any sens, no shabir no shoaib but sami....

  • A.R.Zaidi on December 30, 2006, 18:55 GMT

    Kamran, i m not satisfied by the reasons given by Iqbal Qasim for excluding Shoaib. It doesn't have to do with WADA or match fitness too. Only reason seems to be Inzi's disliking for the guy. If u dont play him on fast South African wickets, will u give him a chance at Faisalabad? Wasim Bari owes a justification for axeing the fastest bowler on earth. Honestly i don't admire Shoaib's behaviour, his love to be among controversies and his ill descipline but captain and coach should have mended him in last so many years. I am amazed that purely out of form Sami has been given another chance when he is not performing but Shoaib with all the experience and pace has been axed. This is strange! Why Inzi is so defensive and why so personal? Pakistan has already lost the edge over Springboks by dropping Shoaib and everyone knows our batting is brittle and bowlers were to do the main job in South Africa. Ihave been to all the test centres in South Africa and i think Shoaib would have been lethal at Centurion and Newlands. Can't PCB show Wasim Bari the door? I know my comments r very negative but in my view national interest comes first. PCB should include a retired fast bowler like Wasim Akram or WAqar Younis in the selection committee who understands the importance of genuine fast bowlers.

  • John on December 30, 2006, 18:30 GMT

    I agree with Faraz on Sami issue...Inzamam is the man to blame on Sami case; field setting and advise is the captain job.

    On Shoaib exit from test team...in my view he'll be kept for one day game, you all folks will see he'll be return for one day game!

  • kashif on December 30, 2006, 18:25 GMT

    I cant wait for Inzimam to retire. I mean come on talk about lack of match fitness if any person has it it is mr fatso.

    Talk about terrible averages this year who comes to mind Mr. Inzi. The great sufi cricketer I mean come on.

    Just because Shoaib drinks or parties he is not a good enough cricketer. I mean come on. The whole australian team does that, would the pakistani establishment have dropped them as well if they had a chance I guess so...

    Grow up Pakistan cricket board and Mr. Inzi: Mr Musharraf stop the talibanization of the cricket team... or else a full scale disaster waits around the corner at the next world cup.

  • Gulrez Rehman on December 30, 2006, 18:17 GMT

    shabbir is good but you cannot put him straight in to the test squad. He needs match practice. nd i also thinkthat on pacey southafricawickets sami i going to be a big help topakistan ifthey want to win the series. although i still dont think that shoaib should have been left out because again on pacey wickets shoaib will do alot of damage to the south african top order.

  • ibtsam butt on December 30, 2006, 18:10 GMT

    hang on here, why did they prove Shoaib innocent if the didnot want to take him to South Africa? What is Shoaib is a bad boy? He is a match winner and has won a lot of matches for Pakistan. Look at Shane Warne.. he is also a bad boy of cricket but look at cricket Australia, they have managed him perfectly. He is bowing out of cricket regarded as a GREAT regardless of him being a bad boy. This shoes Pakistan Cricket lacks managers who can manage people. I think Inzamam's ego is hurting Pakistan. Look how Ricky Ponting manages Shane Warne, Grame Smith manages Andre Nel, they are perfect examples of managing bad boys and making them matchwinners by utilising the potential of match winning. How the hell can Sami be selected? There is something seriously wrong with PCB. Another mistake was leaving another match winner home.... Shahid Afridi....

  • Khalid Qureshi on December 30, 2006, 18:09 GMT

    We keep getting news about our socalled star players and their fitness/selection problems etc etc.But frankly speaking we only need one person;Another Air Marshal(Retd)Noor Khan-A symbol of integrity and fairness.He touched PIA and it became the most successful airline in Asia and even the world;He touched Hockey and Pakistan became the nu-disputed world champions for decades to come.By the way he never used the slogan "Pakistan First" yet he did the most to prove it with his deeds.Long live the Noors and may Allah bless Pakistan with more such people.

  • jamal arif on December 30, 2006, 18:05 GMT

    The Pakistani cricket establishment has once again capitulated to a coterie of players and selectors who seem unable to shed their ostrich like management approach.The actions of these inept managers hurts the public that pays to watch their superstars in action. It is the likes of Shoaib Akhtar hurling the cherry at over 90 mph or a batsman like Ponting, Lara or Pietersen who whack the ball with contemptuous disdain that makes it worthwhile to watch this game of glorious uncertainties in person physically or pay the exorbitant fees charged by the networks. Take such players out of the equation and the fare becomes bland and insipid. The enormous money flowing into cricket these days is because of the sheer joy and enjoyment that such players bring to the paying public. And yet Pakistan has chosen to deny the cricket lovers of watching one of its most colorful and fascinating and somewhat prodigal cricketer in action.

    Using the ruse of 'fitness' to keep Shoaib away from the South African tour is shameful and frankly gives credence to rumors that there is 'apartheid' in Pakistani cricket. This once in a century phenomenon cricketer has in his controversial and injury marred career carved out victories for Pakistan on a number of occasions through his sheer brilliance and 'shock and awe bowling '. Shoaib still has a couple of more years in him to continue mesmerising the best of batsmen in the world and yet Pakistan is sacrificing him at the altar of some egos who find harnessing the talent and skill of the eccentric quickee beyond their captaining capabilities.

    Taking a loyal, subservient and kow-towing bunch of Pakistani cricketers to the South African cricket safari smacks of a conspiracy. The walls of apartheid and favouritism raised through dubious selection policies cannot be dismantled unless the Pakistani cricket honchos take the bull by the horns. Yes, it is time for the urbane and suave Doctor with his trademark goatee who loves his cricket more than his satchels inspite of making a living out of it in the land of the mighty, to step in and do the right thing for Pakistani cricket, The cricket lovers wait with bated breath.

  • Mahmood on December 30, 2006, 17:39 GMT

    Since the new PCB chief took over he has been creating problems for Shoaib and Asif. He seems to be jelous of the fame Shoaib and Asif have. It seems there is something personal. By the way PCB has always done stupid things even in the past as it has been under military. How can military run business and sports etc. when they cannot do their own job right.

  • John Holloway on December 30, 2006, 17:25 GMT

    As an English fan, I have had the opportunity to see Shoaib Akhter up close quite often when he played county cricket in England. There is no doubt that it is a sight to see him running in when in full flow. However, I think the Pakistan selectors have gotten it absolutely right. Shoaib has been a trouble maker for quite a while now, and his attitude is really not needed in a Pakistan team which for once seems to have quiet harmony within the dressing room. For a man who should be grateful that he's even being allowed back on the cricket field, Shoaib showed his disgusting behaviour yet again when he refused to wear the sponsors logo. He has always thought he is a "superstar" and rules and regulations do not apply to him as they do to other players. This attitude can only be destructive to Pakistan cricket. Pakistan have an envious fast bowling attack, the likes of Asif, Nazir, Gul, Sami, Naveed, plus people like Arafat, Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Shabbir, etc are all waiting in the wings. Pakistan does not need a prima donna like Shoaib Akhter. You should be supporting the excellent fast bowlers that you have, and build confidence in them instead of destroying their self belief by running after Shoaib Akhter even when he continues to disrespect the fans, administrators and the game that has made him the person he is today. Move on Pakistan, and forget about Shoaib Akhter. Remember, indiscipline can never lead to success, both in the short term or in the long run so do not encourage it.

  • Ali on December 30, 2006, 17:04 GMT

    Unbelieveable, how can PCB leave Shoaib and Shabbir and pick Sami and arguably Rana for tests. Rana has been great for ODIs but has hasn't proven anything in tests so far. For Sami, I dont even need to even write anything. Everybody, except the selection committee knows about his record. I was thinking Pakistan's best team would have all four or atleast three of these fase bowlers. Shoiab and Asif for new ball, Shabbir and Gul for change and we'll have the likes of Shaid Nazir and Rana Naveed as backups. Pakistan can rout any team with this fast bowling attack. But Somehow, PCB believes in creating unnecessary challenges for the team all the time.

  • Faraz on December 30, 2006, 16:42 GMT

    Omar Amdani: seriously speaking you are NO astute cricket fan...to bash Sami but support Shabbir's inclusion--a branded cheat, only confirms that you possess superficial knowledge of the bowling talent that Pakistan has at its disposal. I won't waste time over giving you Sami's performances and critical match winning spells, but I will say this, it was Inzamam's below par field placing and express instructions to Sami to bowl slower .

    Inzamam is responsible for the defeats in England and the Oval fiasco.

    Let remind you the last time Sami played against England, he ripped through their team with 95 mph spells; but recently it was that lethargic, languid and skill-deprived so called captain who is responsible for what you have claimed is all Sami’s doing.

    My suggestion to you is: First Step: Watch enough Cricket in general. Second Step: Watch and breathe Pakistan cricket Third Step: When fulfilled the Second step, then repeat the second step for at least 6 more months. Fourth Step: After a year or so do a try out domestically: for e.g prove it to your acquaintances, that you know what you are talking about and when and if they think you are well-versed to talk about cricket proceed to Step five. Fifth Step: Once you have accomplished the basics, and if there is still a blog….post a note….but be careful to not let indecision take the best of you to write all kinds of illegitimate hoopla.

  • Mohsin Riaz on December 30, 2006, 16:36 GMT

    I think shoid is one of Pakistani legendary cricketer.he can become icon for whole world in future.His career is in his hands.If he wants to be remembered as a legend of cricket then he should have to change his attitude and approach.

    If he works positively to get himself in top of world ranks then nobody can block him from playing for Pakistan.But he has to make himself hardworker and submissive then God will also help him.

    We love u shoaib.Plz donot spoil ur career,use ur God gifted talent and become the biggest legend of cricket in next few years.We want to see u in cricket. Best of Luck.......

  • Faraz on December 30, 2006, 16:12 GMT

    The exclusion of Shoaib on grounds of fitness is farcical and essentially a cover-up of Inzamam's political struggle to assert himself over Shoaib. Same can be said about Shahid Afridi - A display of destructive form in the recently concluded Twenty20 not good enough for the selectors-overlooked for lack of form...go figure!!

    Dissecting the recent trends in Pakistan Cricket team politics, it would come as a painful revelation that Inzamam is turning in to a Saddam or more so like a Musharraf (hopefully we can hang Musharraf ourselves before the outsiders). And favoritism is the name of the game here...getting the picture?

    Nonetheless, I would like to echo Javed Khan's sentiments that this filthy group of thugs calling themselves PCB are sure to cause greater harm to Pakistan Cricket in addition to what they already have. The adhocism and unilaterism is reminiscent of a dictatorial regime and must be stopped !!

    Solution:

    Step 1: It is high time that there be a coup of ex-cricketers who would take over the control of Cricket affairs in the country. Army needs to go back to the borders and do its job protecting the country and not playing cricket politics.

    Step 2: Publicly hang ALL current and recently ousted PCB officials!! (Current Opposition and Imran Khan may take heed from this and replicate the same for current government---again, let me restrain myself here)

    Step 3: Formulate a quota system for selection of players to ensure fairness (meaning: Not all players should have to come from Punjab---this is a Pakistani team not a Punjabi team).

    Selection Proposal:

    First and Foremost: Ban All players for life for committing any form of serious indisciplinary act that may lead to the credbility of a player's character and motives: (meaning: mainly, begin by a life ban on Shoaib Malik for throwing a domestic match AND Most Importantly: Ban Shabbir Ahmed for life for throwing..literally)

    Step 1: Form a Pakistan Team (4 players from Karachi(Sind) , 4 from all of Punjab, 3 from NWFP/Balochistan)

    Step 2: Form a Pakistan 'A' Team with the same selection scheme as above.

    Step 3: Adopt a Rotation policy on basis of recent performance.

    A movement for change. Pakistan Zindabad Pakistan Pa-indabad

  • sibte hassan shah on December 30, 2006, 16:07 GMT

    calculations,analysis, comparisons,observations,and finally mind over matters. Obviously PCB has none of these. Shabbir is cleared, performed well in domestic cricket and internationally recognized as a match winning bowler but left out and Sami who is good for nothing emerged. Is there anybody sensible in the Pakistani cricket Board?. Sometimes we like talents, sometimes we like personalities, yes indeed Shahid Afridi and Shoab Akhter are liked personalities internationally over Sami or other trash. They both have talents and personalities which attract the crowds of all grounds to fill the gap, good selling tools. The draw back of our cricket is not using the brain, may be they are not well educated or they are not coached properly the problem is player not judging the ball (bowler and batsman both) when Rana Naveed sees the batsman is hitting fours on his flight delivery, he kept throwing the same delivery until he finishes his over with 26 runs and does not learn lesson and he still does not know how to keep up the same delivery which the batsman has difficulty to play. On the other hand Inzmam is bowled by Kumble on 8 occasions facing the same kind of delivery and never corrected himself and still not learning. They, of course do not have the brain and luckily still playing the cricket(fortunate). Actually we are jealous of each others fame and try to put him down.We don't have a captain who can play captain's inning like little master Hanif Mohammed. IF I AM THE SELECTOR WITH THE ABSOLUTE AND SOLE AUTHORITY, I WOULD NOT INCLUDE SAMMI IN THE TEAM AT ALL. UNWILLINGLY FOR THE TIME BEING INZI AS A CAPTAIN, RANA NAVEED SECOND CHOICE, TEAM FOR SOUTH AFRICA SHOULD BE LIKE: IMRAN NAZIR, MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ, SHOAB MALIK, YOUNIS KHAN, YOUSUF MOHAMMAD, INZIMAM, SHAHID AFRIDI, SHOAB AKHTER, SHABBIR AHMED, ABDUL RAZZAK, RANA NAVEED, UMAR GUL, AND DANISH KANARIA.

  • Muhammad Bashir on December 30, 2006, 16:06 GMT

    all comment i read,are good enough to say,the problem need to solve between PCB and shoab. If he doont like to be deciplined, Understandably that no more part of team. and its very truely it should be like the PCB is going.

    Aparently Sammi will improve and no question Shabbir will be in too. and shoab has to look on himself and decide.

  • parikshit timila on December 30, 2006, 15:52 GMT

    I think PCB is out of mind by dropping both wicket taking bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar & Shabbir ahmed. They should be firstly picked in tests to digest the conditions of South Africa.They may know both weakness & strongness of proteas batsman which can help shoiab & shabbir to build them for odi.While returning in one dayer they may need sometime to adjust themselves in SAF.Test match is is ultimate test of the player so we can judge the player through test match so dropping both strike bowlers is complete example of PCB's foolishness.

  • Zakir Khan on December 30, 2006, 15:34 GMT

    Dear Kamran I follow ur blog with keen interest but this is first time that i am participating by posting my message after getting fade up of this shoaib controversy. I feel that PCB should get rid of this person once and for all as he is a huge liability for our cricket side.every now and than we will find Pakistan cricket getting bad publicity all over the world due to an utter indiscipline of a single person. nobody is bigger than the team.if shoaib can't discipline himself than PCB should say goodbye to him. being an ardent Pakistan cricket fan,I feel its time to say to him that enough is enough and he better look some where else for living rather than Pakistan cricket.

  • Irfan on December 30, 2006, 15:26 GMT

    After the Drugs scandel, Shoaib does not seem to be that 'Pumped up'i.e. He is not looking vey muscular as he was before. Now would that in anyway have any effect on his bowling speed. Lets face it without his speed he is pretty much useless to Pakistan. On the other hand Asif does not rely on out an out speed. I remember when he was bowling in England even before the Drug scandel, his physical demenour did look remarkably 'Ben Jonsonish'. Now someone has let all the air out.

  • Usman on December 30, 2006, 15:24 GMT

    regardless of the relationships of the players, shoaib has to go to south africa and play in tests and odi's. you people don't understand what this man is capable of. generally there are two problems in pakistani, one is selection and the other is the handling of superstars. i bet two thirds of fast bowlers around the world are not match fit, but its funny how they are still in the playing 11. the problem would be solved if pakistan had 'outsiders' in the selection commity. leaving out shoaib allows teams to compete with pakistan. 90% of the bastman in world cricket would rather face sami than shoaib. i'l repeat myself, the prolem is the selectors. too much politics involved in pakistan cricket.

  • Shahid on December 30, 2006, 15:11 GMT

    Instead of leaving Shoaib and Shabbir PCB should have taken them to South Africa with the team. This is the time to leave personal agenda behind and think about National Pride. Shoaib and Shabir are still better then other fast bowlers.

  • Abu Ahmad on December 30, 2006, 14:54 GMT

    Dropping Shoaib and including Sami in the squad is a decision that defies reason.He has been left out because Inzi does not like him and personal whims still rule the roost in Pakistan cricket.Leaving out the fastest bowler on the bouncy wickets of South Africa does not make sense.

  • s on December 30, 2006, 14:46 GMT

    The selection of the team is not very good I think now they should give chance to younger players.

    I think shabbir should have been included.

  • Faisal Munawar on December 30, 2006, 14:45 GMT

    I think Shoaib deserves what he got. The reason is that a normal human being who just got out of the misery of his life would be thanking the Almighty instead of partying and smoking and doing all sorts of stuff. I personally play for a minor league in montreal canada and i love bowling fast, my inspiration has been and will be Waqar Younis, i liked shoaib when he started and i loved his style and fury....he used to rip thru any batsman and he has proven himself as well but the type that he has become, because of fame, now is something i hate. Why do our heros always have to be conceated to an extent where u just hate them. I think PCB needs to teach him a lesson. Rules are made for a reason and shoaib is no exception. I must say this before i quit PCB has made a blunder by not selecting Shabbir.

  • Omer Admani on December 30, 2006, 14:25 GMT

    David Furrow, The difference between Sami and Kaneria is that Kaneria at least (and indeed does take wickets at a better rate) "looks" like getting a wicket, whereas Sami is not an Asset but a liability. As far as I am concerned, he lost Pakistan the entire series in England, because if you analyze carefully (and, please, do so again, forget the stats), he always let the pressure off. He took the steam away from the team, and hardly ever have I witnessed a player who was so detrimental to his own team's cause. If Pakistan wants a fast bowler so badly, they should ask Sami to perform better at the domestic level for a good period of time--and if he is already good, ask him to get better and better yet! And get consistent, more consistent, and yet more consistent. And only when he justifies his place in the team should he be in the team!

  • Raza on December 30, 2006, 14:25 GMT

    Shoaib not being included in the squad was a big surprise, but if we look at the situation more carefully, everything might make a bit more sense. I mean, its clear Shoaib Akhtar is way out of form and he hasn't even got match practise, the last he played was three 20-20 matches which is equivalent 12 overs and one other domestic match. I mean seriously, the management made the right decision not to rush him into International Test cricket; and since Akthar is injury prone, who knows how everything would turn out for him in a Test match against South Africa. However, if Shoaib Akthar has not been included because of his attitude than the selectors should seriously think of some other profession.

    And those of the people that say Shabbir Ahmad should be included rather than Sami are dead wrong. Shabbir was only bowling half-decent in the last 20-20 domestic tournament, he has to go a long way before being the same person he used to be. Sami was a much better bowler, David Furrows has made a very interesting comment on Sami. Sami has a long cricketing career ahead of him, he can definetly improve. If he can pick up wickets in the domestic season he can learn to pick up wickets in International matches too and South African pitches can provide just the oppurtunity.

    For now, lets see if Shoaib Akthar can make it to the ODI squad.

  • Fahad Soomro on December 30, 2006, 14:17 GMT

    Just want to know from all of those who critisize Shoaib is why do we keep forgetting his five for against South Africa in South Africa in 1997, The two magic deliveries that got Rahul & Sachin consecutively in 1998-99, Another magic delivery that got Steve Waugh in the 99 World Cup, His three for in an over against South Africa in Sharjah while carrying an injury, His six for against Newzealand in the opening one dayer in Karachi in 2001-02, His five for against Newzealand in New Zealand a couple of years ago. His series winning performance in the last home series against England on flat wickets and immediately after returning from injury his performace in the ODI series against England last Summer?

    All I want to say is every one has his high points and low points but the performances mentioned above and many more like them should be good enough to give him respect.

    Finally, just want to say that in 1997 PCB got hold of an asset a rare resource infact something that no test playing nation has and that is the fastest tearaway in the world. I don't think it needs to be mentioned how efficiently that resource was WASTED.

  • Omer Admani on December 30, 2006, 14:09 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi, Yet again I have felt you have asked a wrong question regarding team selection. I am afraid I can't disagree with you more, yet again. The PCB has made a correct decision-- Shoaib's indiscipline undermines the spirit of the team. As much as I would like him to play for Pakistan, I feel he needs some time to reflect on his attitude. Though I have no doubt that he makes his best effort while he bowls, he needs to understand that he is ultimately a servant of the country, and should be grateful to the country if has to expect the same from his subjects. In any case, Shoaib's omission was the wrong question. The question you should have asked was what is Sami doing in the team in place of Shabbir? Beats me, the whole PCB sounds like a big Duncan Fletcher of Pakistan now.

  • shanu on December 30, 2006, 14:06 GMT

    Shoaib should be back

  • Mubbashar Ali and Siraj Ali on December 30, 2006, 13:46 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar's omission from the Test squad for the series in South Africa is a wise decision. The itinerary for the tour is incredibly compressed with 3 days between the first and second test and 2 days between the second and third test. With such a programme and Shoaib's pathetic fitness record the PCB have reached the obvious conclusion that Akhtar will at best manage 1 out of the 3 Tests before getting injured again and hence jeapordising his World Cup chances.

    The reality is that the PCB know a player who averages one series a year is really going to be pushed to even complete 5 one day internationals and a 2020 match (a maximum of 54 overs). Shoaib's record is not one of an individual who gains match fitness and plays a number of matches before breaking down again. He simply breaks down after every other game. In this sense Pakistan are better to use their other pacemen in the SA test series as they are the long-term future in test cricket. This last statement takes on particular significance when we look back at 2003 where we were faced with the en mass loss of several established players after the WC.

    Finally, a prediction. The World Cup in the Windies will mark Shoaib's ( and Inzi's) departure from the Pakistan team as they will not be available for the 2011 WC. In other words the match winner justification Shoaib relies upon will disappear. Lets hope that we can at least manage Inzi's exit in a dignified and good fashion for the side.

    Welcome to the era of the post 92 pakistani generation!

  • Sadiqian on December 30, 2006, 13:18 GMT

    If PCB has decided to drop Shoaib,then why do not they go for Azhar Mahmood who loves to play against South Africa and scored 530 runs at an average of 75 in 6 test matches.Why Sami ??

  • Imran on December 30, 2006, 13:12 GMT

    The word lack of fitness is what is confusing people, why dont they just say, he did not perform good enough in the local cricket circuit to be picked. It is simple, truth, and fair. The guy was giving runs like it was early Eid for him. I think it was a correct decision. As far as Sami is concerned, I am speechless, the cant bowl at the world class level anymore, period. For some reason, he carries a chip on his shoulder, as if he is Glenn McGrath. He does not use his head when he is bowling, and gives runs like there is no tommorow. Shahid Nazir, a belwo average bolwer, who just got lucky in West Indies matches, his selection I dont udrestand either. PCB honestly speaking is an outfit that is built on bribery and connection, and ass-kissing. If you got them you are in like Flint. If you dont, you are in the dog-house. I am amazed how PCB is still running....Having said all this, PCB if used there head, would have been better of taking Shohaib, so to at least keep him under observation in preparing for the world cup. Asif is a great bowler, but he needs support, and having bowlers like Sami, and Shahid, who give runs like...(fill in with all the galis you can think of) is going to ruin Asif's bolwing career. This shows, PCB really deos not care for the development of there players, because they rally dont know how to, they are bunch of uneducated, illiterate, syndicate sitting on power.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on December 30, 2006, 13:01 GMT

    Ref. David Furrows' post (December 30, 2006 3:05 AM) about Shoaib taking steroid injections!

    Come on David please keep your hypothesis for a better day i.e., when you are sitting in your living room among your friends and boasting that you have been everywhere, like attending the board meetings of the PCB; and working as a lab boy who personally took care of Shoaib's urine sample; a chemist who dispensed the needles to Shoaib and also the steroid injections; a caddy who heard all the juicy gossip of Bob Woolmer while the later was putting on the green! Or an office boy who peeped into Woolmer's laptop etc.

    Revealing insider information David? We have heard a few rumours but, you are hallucinating and fabricating colourful wings of a butterfly to make your rumours fly. To sum it up David, your whole story sucks, c'est ca..

    I don't want to discuss Shoaib Akhtar's personal life in public 'coz its nobody's business except for Shoaib. And, I do agree with other readers who supports his inclusion in the team. It is true that his presence in the team makes a big difference in the pace battery. Fast bowlers always perform well in tandem and he could influence the other bowlers while he is attacking with sheer speed and it is also true that many times Shoaib has terrorized the opposition. Please ignore his personal life and the tantrums he throws, everyone have their little woes, so please don't judge him on the basis of personal likes and dislikes like the PCB.

    In South Africa he could have played havoc on the bouncy wickets and his,speed like Ntini and Nel. Even Zaheer Khan and a mediocre like Sreesanth are getting wickets. As for Sami, he definitely has got a last chance to prove his worth before the World Cup.

    Old Rana is simply lucky, I would never include him in the national team. He is only good for county cricket and domestic matches. And guys, please note that Shabbir is tall and thats all, he is a way-ward bowler with no control and he needs match practice for sure, 'coz he is been out for a long time. If they had included Shabbir in the team, then they had to give another reason for Shoaib's exclusion, which they don't have any.

  • Aaron on December 30, 2006, 12:44 GMT

    Shoaib OUT? you got to be kidding me!!! How do you justify that...? well Pakistan team mgt really is full of morons!!!

  • Zeeshan Mohatarem on December 30, 2006, 12:15 GMT

    Shoaib's non selection should not be a matter of concern because we have performed well without him.So Shoaib should go back to where it all begin and get his act together.

  • Faisal Javed Siddiqui on December 30, 2006, 12:10 GMT

    I feel personally that the team management and PCB do not want to take risks with Shoaib. They are thinking to themselves that what if Shoaib gets unfit now?? If he gets unfit he may not be able to recover in time for the world cup and that is exactly the reason why PCB wants to protect Shoaib from getting injured in the tests, give him a chance to get fully fit and unleash him in the odis in South Africa and the World cup.

  • Sikander Rashid on December 30, 2006, 11:46 GMT

    Hey guys!

    Chill out please. I am sure PCB is aware of this "blunder" they are being accused of committing. Trust me, they do.

    I read all the comments. A couple of guys have linked this development (Rawalpindi Express dropped) with WADA and ofcourse Shoib's doping antics. I also am not doubting WADA's committment to penalise our doppers. WADA, by all means, will be on these guys' case. PCB is just taking a precautionary step here. Shoaib, as someone else mentioned here, perhaps is still testing positive.

    Come one, guys. Give it sometime. Do you want to see the World Cup in Inzi's hand, or Pak-SA series trophy? It is common sense that there can not exsist the WC plan for Pakistan in Shoaib's absence. I am sure he will be back for the World Cup.

    Don't worry Shoaib, no South African girls and drinks this time, buddy. All your fault though. Thank your doping antics. Cheers.

  • David Furrows on December 30, 2006, 11:45 GMT

    Do you think people could lay off Mohammad Sami?

    He is 25 years old, and as Woolmer freely admits his main problem has been psychological: his confidence is fragile and he lets it disrupt his accuracy.

    But Imran Khan swears by him, and that's good enough for me. And many, if not most, legendary fast bowlers had achieved less by Sami's current age of 25.

    At the same tender age of 25, Allan Donald had zero Test wickets, Curtly Ambrose had 29 Test wickets and Imran Khan had 62 wickets for 2385 runs at an average of 39, whereas Sami has 73 wickets for 3531 at an average of 48.

    Pakistan needs a fast bowler who has the pace to pin batsman on the back foot. Shoaib is at the very end of his career, and no-one other than Sami offers that pace. Pakistan needs him for the next five years.

    Every time Sami has been sent back to domestic cricket to prove himself he has succeeded. Sure, he failed in England, but he was short of form and support (in the absence of Shoaib, Asif and Rana Naved) and his strike rate was markedly better than the over-rated Danish Kaneria.

    In fact, I would argue that it is Kaneria who leads a charmed life, given that his record away from Pakistan against teams other than Bangladesh is 69 wickets at almost 40 runs each.

    I would argue that on bouncy wickets in places like Australia and South Africa Kaneria has just as much to prove as Sami.

  • sajad khan on December 30, 2006, 11:43 GMT

    The sami inclusion id purrly down to his dad being on the selection panel. Thats the only reason i can think of

  • Salman Haider on December 30, 2006, 11:03 GMT

    Chacha Koora kirkut--sounds like someone I know well, but hats off to you sir for concocting a great sign-on!

    Having the luxury of seeing the PCB mindset up close and personal, I must salute their mind-boggling consistency! Choosing Sami is something that obviously pains all Pakistan other than Bari & Co and Imran Khan, who really should yield in pursuing this chap's hopeless cause.

    Firstly: the entire appeals process and allowing the bowlers back in the field after dismissing them was a farce. It will as always come back to bite us and has done tremendous damage to us...time will tell. But, I digress...

    Secondly, and more importantly, Shoaib is one of the very few and most exciting things to happen to world cricket in the last decade or so. Period. He is feared, he is ruthless and there is no single batsman in the world who would not have their pulse racing a tad higher when this demon runs in to bowl...what a sight. IF we have forgiven and forgotten all the t-bomb, t-max and viagra-driven life-catalysts, then one cannot drop him. Sure, he thrown tantrums, etc but at the end we know that no one can deliver the ferocity we need like Shabby. Live with the best you have...no point comparing to the Aussies...worlds apart.

    Bad move. And by the way all, this is not just PCB driven but also fair share rests on the shoulders of our illustrious captain Inzi, who is instrumental in this move. He too needs to go.

  • Tariq, Dubai, UAE on December 30, 2006, 10:47 GMT

    Shoaib Out? Nothing New. I agree with most writers here that it has to do with personalities rather than match fitness. Moreover Shoaib dont help the cause by not wearing company logo in 20 20 games. But again i will prefer a 50% Shoab rather than 110% Sami. And one more thing about Selector Iqbal Qasim! Please dont talk about Match Fitness

  • Nas on December 30, 2006, 10:21 GMT

    PCB is stupid for not picking Shoaib.Which team would not pick Shoaib on their team??? Its a shame how thePCb board and other memebers on the team have a problem with him. Pak need shoaib.

  • NAB on December 30, 2006, 10:19 GMT

    Politics, Politics and Politics!

    Where there should be politicians, there aren't. The country is being ruled by a military dictator but where there should be Sportmen and good administrators, there are politicians in PCB. Shoaib is a match winner!!! He single handedly wins matches for Pak. His performance against SA in Sharjah where he got Red HOT Klusener and two other batsmen in one over only and enabled Pak to successfully defend a total of 120-.

    But we can't blame PCB entirely. He is to be blamed as well. He is the center of all controversies. He wants to be more of BodyBuilding Model rather than being a Cricket model. He has had problems with Inzi, Woolmer, PCB when contracts were being signed, Drug issue in Champions trophy, and the latest being hiding the Sponsors logo by tapes!

    Despite all this believe, that he should be taken and PCB can take other actions if he behaves in an indisciplined manner by fining him his match fee or just dropping him for a few matches.

  • Umer on December 30, 2006, 10:17 GMT

    Shoaib is not fit to play because you dont let him play!!, what the hell is PCB thinking? I fail to understand....i mean seriously, you can't even compare Sami to Shoaib...how will he ever be fit to play if you don't make him play the tests? It's not like pakistani team plays test matches every day on their own

  • aziz mengal on December 30, 2006, 10:15 GMT

    Terrible........ SAMI's selection.... i dont think he deserves a place in pakistan's team obviously he does not even in bangladesh's team ....... beleive me i dont follow pakistan series in SA rather i would like to follow india/westindies/srilanka one dayers ..... shame to selector for not selecting shabir ahmed

  • Owais Ahmad on December 30, 2006, 10:07 GMT

    I agree with Kamran and feel a bit sorry for Shoaib. But we should also understand the dilemna of Pakistan selection panel. We have got two super bowlers in Asif and Omer. We also have strong back up support in Rana (on his current form) and the work horse called Shahid Nazir. Adding near certain place for Kaneria, you have four candidates for third seamer spot, Shoaib, Sami, Rana & Nazir. I would go for Nazir in tests and Rana in ODI's. Sami has unfortunately been an under-achiever and needs some confidence boost. Ideally if Shoaib was fit and kicking (match fitness that is) he becomes the first choice along with Omer & Asif. The panel is showing their comfort in people who have borne the weight of the attack in recent series and this argument cannot be regected outright.

  • Risalat on December 30, 2006, 10:04 GMT

    After all the drama past 5 months it has come to this-Sami picked for the tour to SA ahead of Shoaib,I understand not taking Shabbir because his presence may dig out old wound that is the scandal of chucking.PCB has to be the most predictable sporting organisation in the whole world.Why dont they just forget about Sami already?Now that he's in, there will be a dilemma in selecting the final 11.For the tests it should be Asif,Gul,Nazir,now that Razzak is injured they will go for either a specialist batsman(hopefully Asim Kamal)or a 4th pacer which should be guaranteed to Rana and no way to Sami.They shouldnt have picked Sami even though Shoaib and Shabbir are left out.Its going to be a huge bonus for SA and surely they will take the initiative.

    Then PCB left out Afridi(who shouldve played the last ODI against the Windies)should have been in the squad just for the fact that he will be a more effective batsman than Hafeez on those moving pitches.Now Hafeez-this guy is going to be the ultimate bunny of SA bowlers,if he is chosen to open the batting ahead of Malik,Pakistan will be already one down before even the start of each innings.Afridi was always going to be vital now that there's no Razzak.

    Selection of Zulkarnain Haider is another waste of space in the flight to SA.In this unnecessarily extended squad of 17 there are at least 5 players who will be clueless in the hostlie territory of SA.And once again it will be up to the PAK middle order(INZI,YOUNIS,YOUSUF and hopefull ASIM not FAISAL)who's competency will be tested.It's YOUSUF's time to prove that he is indeed one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

    And my advice to INZI:Do not pick SAMI for the final 11.

  • Danish Zaidi on December 30, 2006, 9:48 GMT

    I agree with "Javed A. Khan" that if selection is based on performance then Younis Khan certainly doesnt deserve a place in the side and infact I think he is a liability. He hasnt performed one bit besides scoring vs India. Surely Shoaib couldnt have been worse.

    I get the feeling Shoaib will be called half way through the test series in SA. I think its only a matter of time before one of the touring party members gets injured.

    I think this should be Sami's last chance. If he doesnt perform this time then he should really retire. I do believe he can get wickets when he bowls in an attacking manner. He also needs to develop a slower ball and use the crease very well like Ntini does for SA. I think he would do well to learn from Ntini as they are similar type of bowlers with their bowling style/speed.

    I don't think Shabbir deserves a place in the side. This guy has always had a problem with wides and no balls and talk about his fielding. He;s most of the time been just as erratic if not worse than sami.

    If Pakistan is to have any chances of winning Inzi is really going to have to attack the opposition and playing the waiting game isnt going to help Pakistan win.

    I still remember the "Durban test" the last time Pakistan toured here and if my memory serves me right happens to be the only test Pakistan ever won on SA soil and that was due to attacking captaincy and old Mushy and Shoaib were the chief destroyers so really Pakistan need to take something out of that script if they are to come anything close to wining.

  • Hussain Shakeel on December 30, 2006, 9:47 GMT

    I think it is really unfair to our bad boy,Shoaib.If he is not in his wicket taking form,his sheer pace can put enough pressure on batsman so the bowler bowling at other end can easily grab wickets.I think Shabbir deserves a go ahead of Muhammad Sami and even Rana,because Rana has yet to prove himself in five day cricket.And the decision to take extra Keeper is really bad one from PCB.Younis can keep the stumps in case of emergency.It would have been really good if PCB had selected Abdur Rehman as a cover for Danish Kaneria who is not in his best of forms in recent past.

  • Faizan on December 30, 2006, 9:41 GMT

    Hey guys.....Gul Asif Rana and Nazir only....NO SHABBIR AHMED?????????

  • Easa Q. on December 30, 2006, 9:41 GMT

    this is a completely stupid desicion. the pcb selectors should go to hell.

  • haroon on December 30, 2006, 9:40 GMT

    i still think that i am dreaming or something. seriously i havn't played match cricket and having watch much cricket like most of u here. but i think this is the most stupidest selection by any team's selection commitee ever. when shoiab is playing ther is a phsycological advantage for pakistan. the opposit team's batsman would be coution all the time and are always intimidated from the pace of shoaib akhter. not only that but the bowlers who bowles with shoaib akhter also gets fired up from his performance and try to perform. u have to think there is not any batsman in the world that isn't afraid of shaoib akhter. lets put this aside and talk about shoaib's spead. i am sure most of u people watch india vs sa test serious. average bowlers like seasernath and zahir khan is giving the sa bats man hard time considering that if shoaib plays there don't u guys think it would make a big difference in the result of the match and his performance woud be better than any of those guys considering his spead. the problem with pakistani selection is that it is based on fivertism. as a fan of pakistani cricket i am realy upset with this decision. whatever and however shoaib is he is a match winner bowler who should be in the team. pakistan cricket board should only think about wining not about some personal issues with ther players. i have always been a supporter of sami. at least even untill the last series. pakistan cricket board was selecting some low class bowler like iftekhar anjum. i always thought if they play with sami instead it would have been better. but i have never tought that sami would be picked over shoaib and shabbir in sa tour. that is one of the worse decision ever. sami is over. he isn't the same as he used to be. he is the worse bowler with worse test career record. it doesn't make sense to me why he was picked over shabbir. shabbir's hight would give pakistan a big boast when pakistan is going to play there in bouncy pitches but pakistani selections are too ignorant to know this.

  • yahoo on December 30, 2006, 9:26 GMT

    well you guys should know that sami wont be playing the test matches,he has just been picked up to complete the squad.With gul,asif,rana and nazir in the squad I dont think he wull get a chance...maybe in the practice match but who cares...

  • ali hasan on December 30, 2006, 9:26 GMT

    mr. kamran is every time write to shoaib akhtar is career end. but shoaib akhtar is every time come and select to cricket team. but now shoaib akhtar is again select test seires continue or after test odi serices select. but you kamran write to mr.inzamam ul haq is last four month in international cricket.inzamam ul haq is career end now after world cup 2007.

  • nabbu on December 30, 2006, 9:15 GMT

    I think your should have written som thing for the whole team selection rather than S.Akhtar only.

  • Kamran Hashmi on December 30, 2006, 9:12 GMT

    Its really shocking to see Shoaib left out. Whatever the circumstances are, I now think that Pakistani selectors are never in honest mood in selecting players. I do not believe their reasons. They had to accomodate Sami and so they did it at the expense of Shoaib and Shabbir. What was the fault of Shabbir. They say he is not in the groove and form. How ignorant they are. Didnt they see his bowling for minnows Multan in the Twenty20 or his bowling in the patrons trophy match against HBL where Afridi smashed a quick century and his bowling analysis showed 21 runs from 14 overs against the flowing Afridi.

    I am not surprised ; WorldCup is coming everytime such things happen just before WorldCup.

  • Syed M. Hasan on December 30, 2006, 9:11 GMT

    I am so glad Shoaib has been dropped. As long as Shoaib is around there is a black cloud above pakistan cricket. If he was picked for the test side and played, I am super, super confident he would have done something very stupid and brought further disgrace upon pakistan cricket. As for not picking Shabbir, I think that that was a ridiculous move. Sami!!!! Why is he getting another chance. Picking Sami was a bad decsion. I am positive he will pick up no more then a handful of wickets this series. The only smrt thing that the PCB has done is to take Zulqernain Haider with them. Very smart move. I know Kamran Akmal will screw up and this will open the door to a fine young keeper. Exposing him to some International cricket now will do Pakistan a lot of good in the future.

  • Syed Akif Shoaib on December 30, 2006, 9:00 GMT

    Some things never change Shoaib Akhtar will always be shoaib akhtar. Asif's bowling was par excellence in the 20 20s while Shoaib's was ..let's just say not up to the mark.

    So what i think is that Shoaib should be left out of the tests (cuz he'll probably injure himself or 'get' ;) himself injured and go partying in South African nightclubs)

    But..he should be back for the ODIs so that Smith has that psychological pressure of watching Shoaib steaming down the stadium.

    match fit or not... i think the way newspapers are quoting ( SHoaib stormed out of the meeting) his attitude for not being selected ... tells us that he'll want to burst back to the stage of cricket with a bang... red eyed.... his chain hanging loosely over his unbuttoned pepsi shirt and with an even chinker hairstyle... but most of all he'll have that vindictive look in his eyes..

    and thinking about the PCB when he bowls would make him bowl faster then :D

    I have a hunch..Shoaib would return.... stronger and faster...more lethal..... ....DEADLIER then before

  • Nipoon Vasavada on December 30, 2006, 8:44 GMT

    Hi Being an Indian I am naturally interested in pakistan cricket. Well shoaib Akhtar should be in the team for sheer charisma that he brings to the game.I think by not including him PCB is not only accountable to pakistan people but Cricket lovers in general.Well the biggest Blunder PCB is doing is the way they are handling his case.Well if there is an attitude problem bring it to notice and let cricket lovers know it too.I personally feel Shoaib looks best with his sport shoes red cherry in hand and that nasty glares in his eyes , Cmon guys he is too talented to b wasted like this

  • Osman Umar on December 30, 2006, 8:44 GMT

    Last night i heard on the news that Shahid Afridi,Shoaib Akhtar,Abdur Razzaq and one more players whose name i cannot recall have not been selected.How can one drop all these match winning players from the squad on such an important tour just before the worldcup !!!? Not selecting Shahid Afridi for Test matches makes sense but not selecting ShoaiB and Razzaq is very dissapointing.Both of them are match winners,Razzaq can bowl and bat well and has proved it on many occasions in test matches while Shoaib has always been a match winner,this new chairman is worst than the previous one.I think its just politics and personal grudges against shoaib more than anything ...

  • imran baig on December 30, 2006, 8:23 GMT

    I think taking shoaib out of the team is not a wise decision. Including sami in the team is even worse. I think PCB need full time selection committe. Also senate/national assembly standing committes should take action on personal decision imposed over decision of national interests.

  • sameer on December 30, 2006, 8:21 GMT

    i think Shoaib should be in team but in the 20/20 games he didint show much form. but just 3 shouldnt be judjment of selection and form. And i think Shoib normally doesnt put to much effort into firstclass games. However Shoaib should have gone wwiththe team so that he can work With waqar Younis and get better.

  • DHARVESH MOHIDEEN on December 30, 2006, 8:21 GMT

    Not Taking shoaib for south african tour is a good move by PCB selection commitee.Because of his attitude , lot of injuries and current form matters a lot.If pakistan has any chance of winning the world cup then there shouls be a proper 11.If u pick shoaib for south africa tour and if he again gets injured then his cricket life will vanish. And without him in west indies pakistan attack will be one dimesion,because there is no express fast bolwer like him in pakistan.

    If u consider Rana,asif shabbir,nazir or sami they seems to be one dimension bolwer.Sami can bowl around 140 kmph.But the real aggression will be missing.

    so it is s VERY GOOD MOVE

  • Syed Naumanuddin Hassan on December 30, 2006, 8:08 GMT

    The selection is totally bogus! I'll draft Shoaib in the team even with my eyes closed. He's a match winner and venomous on seaming tracks; even 80% Shoaib can prove to be a destructive force. The other point which I feel is unfair concerns with Fawad Alam, a young talented all rounder from Karachi. After scoring tons of runs against world class bowlers like Asif, Rana and Shabbir in the recent 20/20 tourney, he deserved to get a call for the camp atleast!

  • Muhammad Usman on December 30, 2006, 8:00 GMT

    Its nice to call them back,But PCB should be very clear about the Policies,Always making new Policies and new decision either ynder aby pressure or Its an individual mistake of an individual of PCb,But at the end,Any one will go to feel that PCB is a fool,So New PCB Chairman should appoint some reasonable team which not only work as a professional but also a Policy maker.

    Regarding the Pakistan Crickter Professional Behaviour ,I would like to say sorry,Every time We have a lot of excuses but no Solution,No matter who is the Coach ,which field,which Country.We should show some good behaviour in the field. In the end my request to the Chairman PCB that There should be a plan of at least one Cricket Institute ,Which is fully Equiped with one Ground,Variable Pitches,Coach & Trainer.If It is not feasible then There should be some Policy like that Every year 10% of the Profit of PCB should be used to make the Institutes for Cricket.

    Best regards

    Muhammad Usman Khan usman4ud@yahoo.com

  • qaisar sheikh from dina(pakistan) on December 30, 2006, 8:00 GMT

    2 days ago Dr. Danish zaheer a member of tribunal told some truths about doping issue. he was the more knowing person about doping among all six pcb appointed in this scandal as he is a professional one. he told that if pcb makes one player out of both to play in south africa and later on if wada succeeds in its filed appeal then the action is going to be taken against that player and if both players play and wada wins its case then all the won matches of pakistan team will be forefietd. i think this is the only reason behind all this chaos.

  • Arikh Akher on December 30, 2006, 7:58 GMT

    I remind when the great Maradona was in Argentina Team in 90 s world cup he was not fit enough to deliver the best but he was the captain of Argentina.Why because a 1% fit Maradona can beat 5 great difenders any time.Result One of the greatest move against Brazil in Second Round Match.It was possible because of his talent.Not everybody is gifted with that.I am not comparing Shoaib with Maradona.But a Name Shoaib is enough for the opponent team.He is the finest talent pakistan have got in last 10 years.I remind one thing again in 92 cricket world cup When the legendary King Khan used to take 5 or 6 penkillars to play a match.why Because His presence was enough to boost the confidence of the team.And what about Miandad . I recall Once Imran told about Miandad that If he need stretcher he will bring that to take Miandad to 92 world cup.I dont understand why comparison is going on Shoaib with the others?Shoaib is the fastest bowler world have ever produced and bad luck to him that he is playing for Pakistan andunder One of the typical pakistani captain.The awesome twosome Wasim and Waqar started playing under the most Intelligent and Visionary Captain ever.That was good luck for pakistan and both wasim and waqar that they got Imran. Imran also have a tremendious conflict with Miandad but He never thought to omit Miandad.Yes the cricketing attitude of Miandad and Shoaib not be compared.But the devotion and commitment is no different. A man who used to bowl at a speed of 94 miles/hour or greater than that cotiniously what you expect from him?good fielding?good batting? Ha.

    Hi all are mess. This is Pakistan's administration.They are always poor with man management.They never have been fair with the great characters.If they cant manage Shoaib properly how will they manage a cricketer like Warne(if they get).Every talent is not Roger Federer or Tiger Woods or Pit Sampras or Pele. Some are like Jeorge Best,Dieogo Maradona,John McEnroe,Mike Tyson,Paul Gaskoen.If you get some one immense talented like them you also know how to handle them.They are very much sentimental,emotional and basically light hearted man with no clever intelligence.Please dont take me personally I am a great fan of Pakistan Team From a very long time.And I am watching their cricket from my child hood.When they losses I really feel bad. I am a great fan of every pakistani cricketer.I love every one.Inzi you are one of the greatest batsman but Shoaib also the fastest of the world.Please respect his talent Its the gift ofAllah.Dont make comparison and self satisfied with Nazir or Gul .I know they are talented but They also need Shoaib beside them to mature and to be a match winner like shoaib.We all looking forward to Pakistans success.You need shoaib badly.You also need Shahid because he is also fantastic talent.He is among the few cricketers who can change the color of a match singlehandedly so as shoaib.You need them.Please be fair with their talent Because Pakistan needs them.

  • Mehtab on December 30, 2006, 7:51 GMT

    Sami perhaps the STUPIDEST Shoaib is hero

  • Omar Mir on December 30, 2006, 7:46 GMT

    PCB has yet again made a blunder in the selection process , how can you leave Shoaib Akhtar behind on a trip to South Africa, even if the selectors had nothing to do with the final team and Inzi and Bob did have a choice in the decision making Shabbir Ahmed should have been selected , its absolutely unneccesarry to carry an extra wicket keeper in your squad , theirs already alot of good players ( batsmen and bowlers ) missing out quite an uncalled for system of selection so close to the world cup....somebody needs to take control of PCB with integrity and a vision, Our countries cricket is taken too seriously and passionately to be just messed about with in experienced selectors and biased heads of management....In the end...WE NEED SHOAIB in south africa so get him there..

  • yawar on December 30, 2006, 7:43 GMT

    not taking akhtar is a gud decision becoz he's not fit but shabbir should have been taken as he's tall

  • Mohamed Rauff on December 30, 2006, 7:41 GMT

    Shohaib is not team man, any Pakistani skipper will feel happy not to have him although they won't say that in out,

  • shiraz Malik on December 30, 2006, 7:30 GMT

    I don't see why the PCB do not just tell the truth why Shoaib was not selected. Secondly, I do not think he (Shoaib) promotes harmony in the team by his constantly silly comments and the fact that he remains constantly unfit.

    Sami has had many opportunities to shine and unfortunately, while he has pace, he is in-effective and he also has an attitude.

    Kaneria is not a maych winner as many people think he is. His always concedes many runs and if he does take several wickets in an innings it is usually for over 100 runs. We need a new spinner. The new boy we recently tried should have been in the squad.

    The bowling attack should be Mohammad Asif, Naved Ul Hassan, Umer Gul, Razzak & Kaneria as per the current selection.

  • Farraz on December 30, 2006, 7:26 GMT

    very strange.. if we wanted Shoaib for this tour,at least they should bound Shoaib with current squad so he can analyze and improve his fitness by playing 4 day tour match or training regularly with the entire team.

    keeping in mind the fast and bouncy tracks of South Africa, we are analyzing match fitness of fast bowler on dead or slow pitches pitches of Pakistan and a tournament of 20,20. :-) i personally think there is something else behind this decision..

  • Noor on December 30, 2006, 7:25 GMT

    100% No Showdoo Actor ,Oh sorry I mean Shoaib Actor .He is not for the Pakistan team at all .He needs to go to India & start new career acting .Probably he will get fit there ,as he has said that on several occasions that India is his second home.So pl GOOOOO GOOO.We really don't need a big mouth Guy .We need players like Inzi or M Yousuf and so forth . How can a retired army guy can tell lies that he slapped the coach in the bus ,Plz think for a second.No body talks about that guy ,and his statement .This was not a small issue which is pushed under the rug & One walks over it . PCB has wasted lot of money on this guy .Just add up his medical bills probably we could have build another small stadium instaead some where for poor & good talent ,which could prove 100 % fit all the time .Look at the youtube.com and U will find this guy singing & smoking.Oh Plz take him away & let him go as wea have a strong pace attack by which we can win lot of matches. Bye Bye Mr Actor

  • mazhar on December 30, 2006, 7:23 GMT

    i don't know that what is wrong with shoaib why he gets unfit all the time.He should do something about that.we don't need unfit players.

    well but undoubtly he is a match winner for pakistan . his attitude is the problem. he should be strictly handled.

    trying sami again I think is the big mistake.he should be dropped once and for all. there are lot of deserving bowlers in Pakistan that are waiting for there chances.trying a failed bowler again ,i don't know what the selectors are thinking.

  • Kiran Shah on December 30, 2006, 7:16 GMT

    Shoaib was ordinary at best in the 20-20 and an International series is no place for a player to 'find himself' or for the team management to 'help him get into form and fitness'. When Shoaib is fit and in form then he should be back in the team. Till then, all of you 'superstar' lovers need to put on your cricket brain and understand that one man does not make or break a team. Mohammad Asif, Shahid Nazir, Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul and Rana Naveed are a formiddable bunch. We are likely to play 3 quicks and one spinner so plus Akmal and 6 batters anyway, so our fast bowling attack is stable with Umar Gul and Mohammad Asif to lead with Mohammad Sami as the 3rd seamer. Our attack is good - but the only way we are to win in South Africa is if the batters come to the party, and the technical defiencies of guys like Farhat, Hafeez and Younis Khan are likely to be the main course of concern, not our bowling attack. And by the way, lay of Mohammad Sami. If Shoaib had even one quarter of the team spirit and fighting quality of Sami, then he would have had a far better and less controversial career by now.

  • Farraz on December 30, 2006, 7:16 GMT

    very strange.. if we wanted Shoaib for this tour,at least they should bound Shoaib with current squad so he can analyze and improve his fitness by playing 4 day tour match or training regularly with the entire team.

    keeping in mind the fast and bouncy tracks of South Africa, we are analyzing match fitness of fast bowler on dead or slow pitches pitches of Pakistan and a tournament of 20,20. :-) i personally think there is something else behind this decision..

  • CH RIZWAN KALAIR on December 30, 2006, 7:13 GMT

    If fitness and form is the only issue, the decision to leave Shoaib out of the squad is totally UNJUSTIFIABLE. Rather he must be in playing 11.

  • Akif Nizam on December 30, 2006, 7:07 GMT

    A case can be made that Sami is perhaps the worst bowler in all of international cricket today; he is selected over Shabbir and Shoaib. What a travesty ! Shoaib on one leg is better than Sami.

  • saleem on December 30, 2006, 7:05 GMT

    my dad used to say there is alot of politics in pak cricket which i am reliasing now.......itzzzzz realy shaaaaaaame.... shoiab.. shabir and afridi is as important as world cup for pakistan,,

  • Shoaib Ali Malik on December 30, 2006, 7:01 GMT

    hi guys... well the thing is our selector's are really so silly and greedy cuz they make the team with approach like who ever has got uncle or dad who played before will be in the team without any hurdles.... and also who ever gonna put money in our selector's mouth will be in the team... Sami got selected ahead of Shabir Ahmed and Shoaib Akhtar cuz sami is bloody puppy of imran khan... he always puts the pressure on selectors to fit sami in the squad... in recent odi series sami played 2 one dayers but only got 2 wickets in both tests.... he is not wicked taking bowler and cant even bowl dot bowls.... his bowl goes 200 miles per to the boundary... Shoaib and Muhammad Shabir are way more better than sami... cuz they always put pressure on opposition and they can get 3, 4 wickets easily in each match or innings.... sami played in twenty20 but got the record worst than Shoaib and Shabir.... he is been giving like 34 in 4 overs then how can selector's say that sami bowled well in recent games....

    ok then take care and pray for our selctor's to be positive

  • Frank on December 30, 2006, 6:59 GMT

    A few things to note:

    1. Shoaib went into a slump during the drug ban. He gained weight and lost all motivation to play cricket.

    2. The selection committee cannot base its selection on reputation alone. Meritocrasy demands that each player be condiered on performance and fitness... nothing else.

    Kudos to Iqbal Qasim, the most fair person in Pakistan cricket.

  • Omar Ansari on December 30, 2006, 6:41 GMT

    I wasn't even shocked this time, PCB are on a role baby, they have made the most mind numbingly dumb decisions this year. They have raised the bar!! ZCB and BCCI have some real competition!!

    And that is so true, I would rather have my monkey go to South Africa in Sami's Place any time... it has been a fairly eventful year, and the PCB made sure that the Cricketing world remembers it as the FOLLIES OF PAKISTAN YEAR by saying good bye to it with another dumb decision....

  • Shahid on December 30, 2006, 6:40 GMT

    The selectors did the right thing by asking Shoaib to get back into form before being picked for the tour. If he was selected when out of form it would've only put unnecessary pressure on him to come good. It would also have put unnecessary pressure on the captain and coach to have him in the side and not play him in the games. We have other bowlers who are forming better at present and so it just makes sense to play them. I don't understand what the fuss is all about.

    Same thing goes for Shabbir. You don't want him to break down due to lack of test match fitness. Away tour in South Africa is always a tough one and you want to be careful with your resources.

    I totally concur with the bowling selection choices, it just makes plain common sense.

  • Musstanser Tinauli on December 30, 2006, 6:38 GMT

    I think it is a very wise move to not to take Shoaib Akhtar. Imagine that WADA succeed in their appeal before the world cup. It would be simply a chaotic situation. To avoid the chaos, we shall only play with one of them in any match keeping in mind that we will only need to replace one of them in the worst case scenario for world cup.

    Same goes for Shabir, People have suspicions about his bowling action, so we will just tag him along in the world cup.

    Shoaib shall only play one day games, as he neither has the patience nor the stamina for the test matches. Lets hope Asif will be rested for the one dayers and Shoaib will play to keep both of them "Match" Fit.

    Lastly regarding SAMI, well what I hear is that he is advised by Waqar to bowl medium pace, I think he should be asked to bowl fast which he is quite capable of. The rest of the bowlers are being coached to bowl those inswinging yorkers and stuff then why not SAMI? He can for sure do it.

    Goodluck Pakistani cricket. Signing off Musstanser.

    I think its wonderful thinking by PCB. However this is the way it should be, if its not, then May God help PCB.

  • CB Fry on December 30, 2006, 6:27 GMT

    If Pakistan wishes to win the World Cup, then they need all of their ODI matchwinners: Inzy, Moyo, Razzaq, Afridi, Asif and Akhtar - 2 sublime batsmen, 2 powerful hitters, and 2 world class bowlers. If Akhtar has been left out to give him time to prepare for the World Cup, given how injury-prone he is, then fair enough. But Afridi and Akhtar need to be on that plane to South Africa for the ODIs if Pak are serious about the WC. That will be the time to put aside petty Pakistani bickering, mud-slinging and politics. Matchwinners are like gold dust: if they're mavericks, then management needs to do what it's paid to do and manage them.

  • Abdul on December 30, 2006, 6:25 GMT

    I think Shoaib is a matchwinner, and is the ideal bowler to support Asif and Gul in such good form. Line and length merchants helped by genuine pace! What i dont understand is, why the heck is Sami in the squad? He took 1 wicket and gave away 107 runs in 3 matches...not to mention Imran Nazir slog sweeping him for six! No Abdul Rehman, none of the talented Karachi boys, no Imran Nazir?!?!?!?! The problem with Pakistan Cricket will always be they never look outside their comfort zone... Look at Australia...they gave Hussey a chance when he was 31 and there is no looking back for him. Look at Clark, the highest wicket taker in the Ashes, with the likes of McGrath and Warne! What do we do...stick with Sami and Shabbir...and then we wonder why we lose?? A crocked Shoaib over Sami anyday...please give us a break! Sami was in Dubai for a cricket tournament...and even here he managed to take only 1 wicket. A 35 year old domestic player i know took 18 runs of him, twice, just to prove how bad he is! Some one please explain where all the fast bowlers have gone in Pakistan?!?!?

  • Umar on December 30, 2006, 6:23 GMT

    Exclusion of shoaib always on the cards. But SAMI ugggggghhhhhhhhhh.... my god y r they just sticking with him.he had terrible time in england giving away runs like anything.i mean that is the reason ehy australia is on top.IN SHORT POOR SELECTION.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz Ahmad on December 30, 2006, 6:06 GMT

    Shoain's omission from the squad has a lot to do with his original 2 year ban and PCB is trying to signal its intention to WADA having assumed that Shoaib will not get away without any ban at all if ICC intervenes. As he already understands doping issues and is widely known for his attitudes i find it hard to believe that he will find many sympathize with him in ICC's panel hereas Asif was regarded as one of the emerging cricketer of the year and despite the doping scandal, he was in contention for the award and there is also a widespread belief that he knew nothing about banned substance and was led into taking the substance and thus its highly likely that Asif will get away with it where PCB wasnt willing to take any risk by taking Shoaib as it tantamounts to absolute disregard to ICC's code of conduct.

    Pakistan will definitely find it difficult to win test matches without Shoaib. Asif, Umar Gul will be very useful bowlers and lets not forget sami's role here is a first change bowler ... not one of an opening bowler. Sami will probably be picked ahead of Rana Naved. Shabbir Ahmed is not quick at all and Umar Gul and Asif will swing the ball anyway so there is nothing to be concerned about.

  • Shahab Shamsi on December 30, 2006, 6:06 GMT

    It was the right decision not to take Shoaib to the South African tour. He has already shown signs of indiscipline recently by hiding the sponsers tag. In addition, I agree that Shoaib must learn a lesson from this at his age and concentrate on getting focus so he ends up his career with some dignitiy. I hope he will grow up soon before he retires from any form of cricket.

  • Umar Mushtaq on December 30, 2006, 5:59 GMT

    Good to see Yasir Hameed and Asim Kamal back in the fold.

    But Sami? One (Urdu) word sums it up: Parchi

  • Shehzad Ghani on December 30, 2006, 5:57 GMT

    I just hope Waqar Younis had a say in this and he has a plan to use Sami and others taken ahead of Shabbir (and Shoaib) in some better way in SA. As far as Shahid Nazir is concerned, I think the guy has worked hard, been consistent and deserves his spot. Just an observation: I think the team management is looking for players who are hard workers rather than mercurial 'heroes' like Afridi and Akhtar. They have my support on this for sure.

  • Jaat Yamla on December 30, 2006, 5:57 GMT

    What else do you expect from PCB? Sami has done nothing whenever he was given a chance. Shoaib @ 50% is better than 100% Sami like the other person said. PCB should have selected someone else other than Sami, i.e,Shabbir Ahmed.

  • raza ahmad on December 30, 2006, 5:56 GMT

    pcb selection committee is all member karachi to link.but he is like to only mohammad sami.umar gul is new stress farcture come tour south africa.pakistan batting line up is flop tour soth africa.inzamam ul haq is last four month cricket.but he is no good response for captain ship.

  • Salman Riaz on December 30, 2006, 5:54 GMT

    It is clearly a zonal politics in pakistan selection committee when retarted people like iqbal qasim are in charge and dumbest guys like wasim bari are the bosses, you can expect all kinds of things from these clowns. Secondly selecting Sami has a big KARACHI FACTOR to it since Sami is the worst fast bowler ever successful to play 20+ test matches and have a almost 50 runs per wicket average. Shabbir is one of the brightest ppl in the pakistan pace battery and he is left behind , even rana naveed is a fluke player , medium pacers like him donot have a great value and he also has a SAMI -LIKE record in test cricket on the other hand only two bowlers have taken 50 wickets in 10 matches for pakistan Waqar and Shabbir.

    And by the wat what is shoiab malik batsman , bowler or fielder or are they grooming him to be another Mike Brealey.

    What a waste , Shame on those retarted clowns "Selectors".

  • Joe John on December 30, 2006, 5:43 GMT

    Stupid PCB. You have the fastest bowler in the world and all you can think of is dropping him. Do you think that Australia will drop Bret Lee? Come on, put on you thinking cap(i.e. if you have any)

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on December 30, 2006, 4:34 GMT

    Shoaib's antics outside the field are a cause for shame for the Pakistani public. These guys are supposed to represent your country. Besides he doesnt seem to have a good relationship with the team. He seems to be "the other guy" when playing with the team.

    Having said that, I would choose Shoaib over Sami any day :D

    Taking Sami along for the ride is perhaps the STUPIDEST (if that is a word) thing that can be done. The guy has an average just below 50 (that's bowling average folks)... that is perhaps the worst average that any regular bowler has ever had. I would have one less player in the squad rather than selecting Sami.

    My verdict: Shoaib, Shabbir or my grandma over Sami any day...

  • Haider Hussain on December 30, 2006, 4:25 GMT

    This is hilarious. PCB at its best. First of all 2 or 3 20/20 games are no judgement of form and should not be a criteria for being selected. Secondly, as we all know there must be some thing going on behind closed doors. Either there is a rift between PCB and Shoaib (sponser logo or doping whatever) or PCB is just trying to protect Shoaib so that he is fully fit for the WC. As we all know Shoaib has the tendency of getting injured after playing just a few matches. But whatever the reason, he should have been in the squad. Atleast that way he can get some of his fitness back to normal levels. If i was Shoaib right now, i would leave Pakistan Cricket. On the team in general, whenever Pakistan has sent a big squad there have always been problems. The selectors take the easy road by sending a 17 man squad and then the coach/captain are not sure whom to play and whom not to play. Lets see what happens and lets hope for the best Happy New Year every one

  • Syed.USA on December 30, 2006, 3:10 GMT

    My point of view is, if a captain has such an authority ( as it has been suggested that Inzi was not in favour of selecting Shoaib)then what's the role of selection comittee,let Mr.Inzi select the whole touring squad.I have no praise for Shoaib's stupid ego, infact plain dumb behavior for refusing to wear sponsor's lego,specially after what had transpired recently(doping saga)in situations like these you go extra yard ,out of your way to ensure that u remain in good books of people who matters, I have come to two conclusions, either, Shoaib is plain immature with no intelligence or vision to sense the atmosphere around him OR he is a slave of his own personal ego(which unfortunately will become a cause for his demise).In any event personal grudges(inzi vs shoaib),if speculations are true, should not come in the way of bigger picture, Team's interest.I feel Imran and Javed handled it the best way "off the field".

    ThankYou, Syed ............USA.

  • David Furrows on December 30, 2006, 3:05 GMT

    I have a rather different hypothesis.

    As some of you may be aware, it was the team management which requested September's steroid testing because Woolmer at al were strongly suspicious that Shoaib was abusing steroids, and they were afraid that he would get caught out in competition (ie outside the PCB's jurisdiction). Just think that through please. The team's own management were convinced that Shoaib was abusing anobolic steroids. Not supplements, but steroids, administered by injection.

    I believe that Shoaib abused steroids over a far longer period than Asif, and that he is still testing positive whereas Asif is not. (I have never belived the fairy tale about contaminated supplements, which was one of many ludicrous defences that the players put forward, but which was the most convenient one for the appeal panel to cite as reasons for exonerating the two drug cheats.)

    The PCB can't afford the scandal of Shoaib testing positive in ICC tests during the South African tour, so he is excluded until such time as he stops testing positive, which may be as soon as the ODI series after the Tests.

  • Aki on December 30, 2006, 2:27 GMT

    i am a pakistan supporter, but last year or so im subsiding from that claim, claims about inzi forcing religion on players in order to be selected, pcb attacking shoaibs personal life, "internal" drug scandal... etc etc..

    its safe to say i will NOT be supporting pakistan from here on out unless there are some major changes in management, coaching(woolmer has to go!), and Captaincy (inzi is turning out to be some sort of horrific disease for pakistan)..

    lets hope Shabbir is reported again for chucking and pakistan gets white-washed by the proteas.

    Go South Africa!

  • John Beamish on December 30, 2006, 1:55 GMT

    Ahktar & Sami bowling in tandem at Newlands! Alas not to be. Ahktar's career could be over and there must be reasons other than a less than stellar performance in domestic cricket. You don't leave out your premier strike bowler because of a few domestic matches. He's possibly gotten up the noses of management and is paying the price. If domestic matches were a criterion I don't see where Asim Kamal has been lighting up the scoreboards. Shabir's non-selection is understandable. He's missed a lot of cricket and you don't reward performances by Gul & Nazir by dropping them.

  • Asif Ahmed on December 30, 2006, 0:48 GMT

    This is another example of silly selection. Look at what is happening in SA right now. India is succeeding due to sheer pace, seam, and bounce that their bowlers can elicit from those pitches. Shoaib has raw pace, Shabbir has bounce, and Sami has neither; Sami bowled poorly in the last 2 matches against the West Indies and bowls 4 bad balls in every over. He is not a wicket taking bowler, and his record attests to that. He has had his chances and has failed and is absolutely not deserving of this selection. I wonder who is getting paid to include him in the squad.

    Shoaib is important for the team, but we have suffered all too often in the past when he has broken down in the middle of a test match. If there is a question about his fitness for a test match, I understand his exclusion. Shabbir, on the other hand, has been doing well in domestic cricket and elicits more bounce than any other Pakistani bowler.

    This is another example of pathetic selection. Mohammad Sami has to be asked to retire.

  • Mawali on December 29, 2006, 23:59 GMT

    Kamran sahib, this one baffles me. I am obviously not sure for the reason(s) for Shoaib's ommission from the team. If it is indeed as reported than he has to be in a pretty miserable state to be left out. Evidence however, suggests otherwise. The man has been on television in the very recent past playing the domestic circuit. I agree with the poster who suggested that a half ready Shoaib at the start of the tour may still prove to be a handy and a formidable weapon against the opponent. And another thing I just don't get this attitude business. Yes we all know Shoaib is a premadona, and yes he has the tact of a horny bull in a china shop. So what? He is supposed to have a nasty attutude; he is a FAST bowler. Take Sreesanth, Indian bowler, takes a few wickets and then hits a damn six off Andre Nel and starts dancing in the middle of the pith like a 10 dollar you know what. What ever Shaoibs fitness problems maybe and or his hissy fits, the fact remains that the guy gives 100% on the field. Remember, Shaoib may not take a lot of wickets, but his sheer bravado and lethal speed creates enough shock which in turn helps bowlers with line and lenght take wickets from the other end. How can you not take a guy who bowls at 90+ for a tour which offers bouncy pitches. Beats the heck out of me! AMF

  • Imran Quraishi on December 29, 2006, 21:40 GMT

    I think PCB made the right decision of not selecting Shoaib for the South African tour. He is a bad influence for the other team members and is not serious about cricket at all. If he would be an honest and sincere cricketer then he would not be taking banned substances and most recently refused to wear sponsor's tag in the 20/20 game. This shows that he thinks he is above all and can do what ever he feels like. Cricket is a game of discipline and we don't need people like him to give a bad image to Pakistan cricket.I admit that he is the fastest bowler in the world but first he has to be a good human being which unfortunately he is no where close to. I think Sami performed well in the last match against the West Indies and bowled according to the field placing. It's about time we get over Shoaib and include young gun Anwar Ali in our squad as a replacement for Shoaib cuz he is only 21 and very quick.

  • jamil on December 29, 2006, 21:04 GMT

    i wish i was allowed to swear here - i mean why else would the board go through all the trouble of staging Shoaib's innocence in the drug scandal - seriously - or is there yet another twist coming - i read some news 2-3 days ago where his performance in domestic cricket was questioned - woolmer had it hinted already a couple of weeks back - somebody please explain it to me - if the rumours of issue between Inzi and Shoaib are correct then Inzi is seriously affecting pakistani cricket here - his ego is becoming as big as his waistline - choosing malik despite his no core competency, making afridi play despite his only 5 successes in 10 years, keep pushing for sami when he is the fastest - yet useless - bowler around - and now Shoaib - so we think fast bowlers have no issues with captains - McGrath has no issues with Ponting? McGrath actually walks up to Ponting and Lee and takes the ball from Ponting's hand and starts bowling - Lee just takes his cap back from the umpire and goes to fielding, so does Ponting - Bravo has no issues with Lara? we saw it so often in the field - Flintoff and Harmison and Hoggard has no issues with Vaughan? then why is Vaughan in the team anymore? seriously, Inzi gotta get mature now - he needs to have Shoaib in the team because we all saw Shoaib's better attitude when he last played and he was always talking to Asif, Rana and Gul - these young players need him - Inzi needs to get mature and act as a main batsman in the team so that two overs before victory he doesnt make Gul and Rana bat whole over and take single on the last ball - Inzi backed up on Younis issue because having Younis out would seriously weaken the team - but he can afford losing Shoaib because he can see Asif, Gul, Rana and Sami there - no matter what a fast bowler has more respect for a fast bowler - it is a brotherhood - causing issues in it will cost Inzi - and pakistani team dearly.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on December 29, 2006, 20:52 GMT

    "Fumum et opes strepitumque Romae.... " i.e., after the smoke, and the grandeur and the noise of Rome....

    This is exactly what the PCB officials have done ...... after so much noise and heated debates on doping, drug testing, "yada, yada-ing" and then finally leaving behind the bad boy, Shoaib Akhtar on the basis of - not enough match practice - poor performance at domestic level and a few rumours. Is anyone surprised at this decision? I don't think so. This is what PCB is all about - A total mess, a bunch of unprofessional hypocrites and bureaucrats who cannot do nothing good to cricket in Pakistan except for damaging and tarnishing the country's image and reputation.

    It was also expected that Shahid Afridi will not be included in the team, but they don't need an explanation about his exclusion in the team. But one can clearly see the PCB culture is so full of partiality, favourtism and nepotism, the irony is they are not accountable to anyone. Can anyone say that; Yasir Hameed, Imran Farhat, Hafeez or Faisal Iqbal are better players than Afridi? Have they ever won a match for Pakistan single handedly? Never. As regards performance, Razzaq and Malik are no good these days and Afridi's recent domestic form is much better than others. Since this thread is not about Shahid Afridi so I'll put this subject aside. But, he is too good a player to be left out for SA tour......or, are they going to call him for ODI matches? This is a 'fish-full' thinking on part of his supporters.

    I do believe that a regular wicket keeper is always a better choice in the team over a make shift wicket keeper. But, to include a second wicket keeper in the team is not a luxury; its like carrying extra baggage, and also depriving a bowler or a batsman a place in the team. If Zulqarnain Haider's inclusion is only to make him sit on the sidelines or to give him an opportunity to learn or gain dressing room atmosphere's experience, then PCB should send him seperately as a guest or an observer rather than sending him as a second wicket keeper.

    It is not likely that Kamran Akmal would be dropped. If Kamran Akmal gets injured, then the PCB can always ask for a replacement. For emergency purposes we have Younis Khan as a make-shift wicket keeper. And in fact, Younis should have honed his wicket keeping skills and capabilities, because as a make shift captain he failed to prove his effectiveness in leading the team. Not only in terms of temperament but, also in leading from the front as a leader, as a shrewed captain and a tactician. Besides that captaincy burden on him was too much that, he failed with the bat in Champions Trophy.

    During the last Caribbean tour, when he captained the team in absence of Inzamam, he had a row with Shahid Afridi about the batting order in which the later wishes to play. It is an open secret to which Younis first denied and then admitted that,"two bhai's" can always disagree and argue (but he made fool of himself) but its all over.

    Just before the departure to India to play the Champions trophy he goofed up the whole thing and proved how good a dummy captain he is. Then, again while leading against the SA, when Umar Gul was on the roll and took 3 wickets in his first 6 overs and SA were 46 for 5, he removed Umar Gul to spare him for the death overs. The irony is Umar Gul bowled only 8 of his 10 overs quota in that match which Pakistan lost mainly because of his dummy captaincy.

    He has been hyped by the media as a good captain and as usual Imran Khan the great has a hand in it. Imran talked and praised so much about Sami, he did the same for Younis and both performed badly after that. During his days, Imran Khan did the same with his blue eyed boy, Mansoor Akhtar who was his pet and kept him in the team despite his repeated failures. Imran Khan cannot be right all the time, besides he has no time to look in to the details of every single players performance.

    Talking of Shoaib Akhtar again and the reasons of leaving him behind, prompts me to ask a question, what about Younis Khan's match practice? He too has not played enough cricket due to the tragedy in his family. But he is a good boy and Shoaib is a bad boy or should I say its like; "Bon Cop Bad Cop" situation? The personal reputation of a player especially when one knows which side of the bread to butter, has an edge over the others.

    Pakistan's over dependency on Mohammad Yousuf should come to an end. He has played superbly during 2006 breaking all records and creating new world records. He is away on Hajj and everyone knows how tiring the Hajj pilgrimage ,is. Morally and spiritually you are elated but physically you are drained and exhausted and you need at least 2 weeks rest to play international cricket. Whereas, MOYO is joining the team immediately after Hajj and without any rest and without any break. May God bless him for his sincere, honest and dedicated efforts in playing for the country and grant him more success.

  • Ahmer Karimuddin on December 29, 2006, 20:45 GMT

    I think your point about the patience the Pakistani cricket fraternity has with Shoaib Akhtar is on the mark. First, there were the obviously off-the-wall comments by Intikhab Alam during the first hearing regarding the doping scandal, and then an absence of strong support from Bob Woolmer, or any high-ups in the PCB setup. I think another major problem is the absence of any true match winners in the Pakistani squad now, in the absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi. Pakistani is going to be hard pressed for success if these two are absent for the ODI series as well.

  • Euceph Ahmed on December 29, 2006, 20:17 GMT

    Two careers reach a glorious end Down Under. One of them the bad boy of Australian cricket, who bows out in supreme form as nothing less than an all-time great to have ever played the game. The bad boy of Pakistan cricket on the other hand, begins to be pushed out humiliated, scorned, ridiculed, and tainted. There are no parallels to be drawn here.

    I cannot help but see this as the end of Shoaib’s career. He might stage a comeback for the world cup but then what? I see darkness, total darkness thereafter. His tanks of energy and glamour are running on empty. Bye bye corporate sponsors one by one. Hello Bollywood. And hello sponsors again.

    If there’s a lesson to be learnt, it should be in the comparison of how Cricket Australia managed its star cricketer versus how the PCB turned its star cricketer into a spoiled brat. CA reaped the ultimate benefit out of the controversies of Shane Warne’s soap opera life while using his own psychology to keep him focused on taking wickets. The cronies at the PCB, however, focused only on winning the next match and the next tournament, exposed themselves so badly that the tail started wagging the dog. Shoaib was made to feel that he was indispensable. Top that with the corporate sponsors who jumped in to spoil the broth and it was way too much for the poor guy to handle. Everyone, from the managers to the coaches and the captains, to the sponsors, journalists, and fans have some sort of a contribution in his demise, not to exclude his complete inability to handle fame and fortune.

    What will be Shoaib's legacy? Laughable at best.

  • Raza Zaidi on December 29, 2006, 19:22 GMT

    Good riddance, I'd say! It'll make the dressing room atmosphere more pleasant for the Pak team. National hero!?? please!

    But one negative effect of his omission is that Sami is back! Ugghhhhh! Nothing I can do but pull my hair out. Happy hunting, South Africa. Here's a New Year's gift for you...a toy for you play with in the field. Pull him, cut him, drive him, hit him, and knock the stuffing out of the ball that he presnts you with on a platter.

  • robert bascus on December 29, 2006, 19:06 GMT

    shoaib is well love by antiguans and west indians a like simply because he is the fastes bowler in the world, he is excited and lively, we love him and we love inzi too, but i just have a feeling that inzi is not a big fan of shoaib. Pakistan people need to question the captain motives for not taking his best fast bowler to south africa, the way south africa's top order crumble under the medium pace of the indians, shoaib at 94 miles would surely be breakin records just by showing up. I sa inzi be fair to shoaib, we want to see, smith and boys will thank you after you lost.

  • Hamid on December 29, 2006, 19:05 GMT

    The guy hasn't played international cricket for a long time and hasn't performed well on return recently. Controversies apart, those are reasons enough to be dropped from the touring party.

  • Yassar on December 29, 2006, 18:53 GMT

    Another mistake...another blunder...and another feeble excuse...who else but the good old PCB.

    Leaving Shoaib Akhtar out of the squad for the test series against South Africa has meant any optimism for the tour should be quickly dampned. I dont believe for one minute that his exclusion was on fitness grounds or for any of the saga involving WADA. As if it was the latter than Mohammed Asif would not be involved either.

    As far as his fitness goes...he has played 3 twenty20 games, a four day game where he bowled 21 overs and has been part of a 3 day training camp. Also considering that Pakistan will be leaving early for the South African in order to play a number of practice matches to climatise the unfit excuse seems just that an excuse.

    The recent refusal by Shoaib to sport the sponshership logo in the Twenty20 cup may have cost him more than just a fine.

    Shoaib should have been included. For too long Pakistan cricket has taken an interest in Shoaibs social life and using that as a reasons for his exclusion in cricketing contests. From a pure cricketing point of view...who cares what he does in his social life as long as he is performing on the field. Pakistan are wasting a talent which will possibly not be around in the not too distant future for them to utilise.

    Every other board in world cricket protects its players...except for the PCB.

    Even if he is unfit...there are enough games in South Africa which would enable him to get fit and that too under the watchful eye of the team management. Pakistan have enough fast bowling riches to take an unfit Shoaib with them, leaving him behiend makes no sense, especially with the world cup round the corner. Who would the South Africans rather face Shoaib Akhtar or Sami

  • anwar,los angeles on December 29, 2006, 18:00 GMT

    not again.....no shoaib....simply a no brainer by PCB....what i think is needed a major brain surgery for entire PCB management..(IF THEY HAVE ANY..)...it seems more of a personal then professional ...between PCB management and shoaib....and i read ..that iqbal qasim was questioning shoaib fitness...LMAO....i do remember his days playing for pakistan team...and on countless ocassions he wasn't even able to stop the ball..or even could run with it...and yet he is questioning shoaibs ability....COMEEEE ONNNN qasim....please don't be dirty and personal...with national hero....we need to support shoaib...and pray ....GO SHOAIB......ALLAH HAFIZ.

  • Yousuf H on December 29, 2006, 17:49 GMT

    While plenty of ink has already been spilled on Shoaib Akhtar not making the cut for the South African tour, in all this what’s been ignored, in my opinion, is the mistake of not including Shabbir Ahmed for the tour, specifically for the test matches, assuming his action has now been cleared as legal. Compared to Rana, Sami and Nazir, Shabbir has a far superior Test record and without doubt he would be far more effective in the trampoline pitches of South Africa compared to the other three because of his height and point of delivery. His non-selection suggests not everything is honky dory with his new action...

    Without Shoaib and Shabbir, Pakistan should be careful in getting over-confident about their pace attack, especially when comparing with the success of India’s pace attack in South Africa. For one, South Africa would be much more wary of the Pakistan pace attack, having been caught by surprise by India; for the other, for those who have watched the India / South Africa series, the Indian bowlers have bowled within their means and that is something Pakistan would need to do as well. On paper, Pakistan was the stronger side heading to England last summer as compared to Sri Lanka. Yet Sri Lanka held England to a 1-1 result and we know what happened to Pakistan. Pakistan needs to be careful heading to South Africa and shouldn’t pre-judge South Africa based on their performance against India.

  • Ghalib Taimur on December 29, 2006, 17:33 GMT

    Here we go again about Shoaib...To me not taking Shoaib was the right decision as he is one of the bowlers prone to injury and I'd rather take him to the world cup fired up then take him to a series in South Africa.Hwever saying that he should play in the ODIs as that will help in him regaining full fitness.Pakistan will need him more in the Windies where pitches are flat whereas in South Africa i think our pace attack would do fine without him.

  • Umair on December 29, 2006, 17:29 GMT

    Hi Kamran, As Osman mentioned in his article, there is a lot more to this than just the fitness issue. Of course, he is not 100% fit, but 50% shoaib is ten times better than 100% Sami. I think the main reason why they dropped him was to give him a wake up call. He didnt follow PCB's orders by hiding the sponsor's tag in 20-20. He didnt perform well at all, on top of that, you can see his videos on U-tube and everywhere else partying and singing songs rather than concentrating on what he does best, bowl FAST anyway, lets hope our hero/villian ends up in hero court rather than on villian side at the end of the day and PCB can overturn their decision once again by sending him for tests (Highly unlikely even for an optimist like me)

  • Chacha Koora Kircut on December 29, 2006, 17:22 GMT

    Shoaib out! Fair enough if only on disciplinary grounds. After all he refused to wear the sponsor's logo in the 20/20 cup.

    But can someone please explain how Sami get selected ahead of Shabir Ahmed. Sami's stats speak volumes about his ability so do Shabir's. While Sami averages almost 50, Shabir has taken 50 in only ten tests!

    It defies belief! I will refuse to watch Pakistan play if they field proven losers like Sami.

    Shame on PCB selection committee!

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  • Chacha Koora Kircut on December 29, 2006, 17:22 GMT

    Shoaib out! Fair enough if only on disciplinary grounds. After all he refused to wear the sponsor's logo in the 20/20 cup.

    But can someone please explain how Sami get selected ahead of Shabir Ahmed. Sami's stats speak volumes about his ability so do Shabir's. While Sami averages almost 50, Shabir has taken 50 in only ten tests!

    It defies belief! I will refuse to watch Pakistan play if they field proven losers like Sami.

    Shame on PCB selection committee!

  • Umair on December 29, 2006, 17:29 GMT

    Hi Kamran, As Osman mentioned in his article, there is a lot more to this than just the fitness issue. Of course, he is not 100% fit, but 50% shoaib is ten times better than 100% Sami. I think the main reason why they dropped him was to give him a wake up call. He didnt follow PCB's orders by hiding the sponsor's tag in 20-20. He didnt perform well at all, on top of that, you can see his videos on U-tube and everywhere else partying and singing songs rather than concentrating on what he does best, bowl FAST anyway, lets hope our hero/villian ends up in hero court rather than on villian side at the end of the day and PCB can overturn their decision once again by sending him for tests (Highly unlikely even for an optimist like me)

  • Ghalib Taimur on December 29, 2006, 17:33 GMT

    Here we go again about Shoaib...To me not taking Shoaib was the right decision as he is one of the bowlers prone to injury and I'd rather take him to the world cup fired up then take him to a series in South Africa.Hwever saying that he should play in the ODIs as that will help in him regaining full fitness.Pakistan will need him more in the Windies where pitches are flat whereas in South Africa i think our pace attack would do fine without him.

  • Yousuf H on December 29, 2006, 17:49 GMT

    While plenty of ink has already been spilled on Shoaib Akhtar not making the cut for the South African tour, in all this what’s been ignored, in my opinion, is the mistake of not including Shabbir Ahmed for the tour, specifically for the test matches, assuming his action has now been cleared as legal. Compared to Rana, Sami and Nazir, Shabbir has a far superior Test record and without doubt he would be far more effective in the trampoline pitches of South Africa compared to the other three because of his height and point of delivery. His non-selection suggests not everything is honky dory with his new action...

    Without Shoaib and Shabbir, Pakistan should be careful in getting over-confident about their pace attack, especially when comparing with the success of India’s pace attack in South Africa. For one, South Africa would be much more wary of the Pakistan pace attack, having been caught by surprise by India; for the other, for those who have watched the India / South Africa series, the Indian bowlers have bowled within their means and that is something Pakistan would need to do as well. On paper, Pakistan was the stronger side heading to England last summer as compared to Sri Lanka. Yet Sri Lanka held England to a 1-1 result and we know what happened to Pakistan. Pakistan needs to be careful heading to South Africa and shouldn’t pre-judge South Africa based on their performance against India.

  • anwar,los angeles on December 29, 2006, 18:00 GMT

    not again.....no shoaib....simply a no brainer by PCB....what i think is needed a major brain surgery for entire PCB management..(IF THEY HAVE ANY..)...it seems more of a personal then professional ...between PCB management and shoaib....and i read ..that iqbal qasim was questioning shoaib fitness...LMAO....i do remember his days playing for pakistan team...and on countless ocassions he wasn't even able to stop the ball..or even could run with it...and yet he is questioning shoaibs ability....COMEEEE ONNNN qasim....please don't be dirty and personal...with national hero....we need to support shoaib...and pray ....GO SHOAIB......ALLAH HAFIZ.

  • Yassar on December 29, 2006, 18:53 GMT

    Another mistake...another blunder...and another feeble excuse...who else but the good old PCB.

    Leaving Shoaib Akhtar out of the squad for the test series against South Africa has meant any optimism for the tour should be quickly dampned. I dont believe for one minute that his exclusion was on fitness grounds or for any of the saga involving WADA. As if it was the latter than Mohammed Asif would not be involved either.

    As far as his fitness goes...he has played 3 twenty20 games, a four day game where he bowled 21 overs and has been part of a 3 day training camp. Also considering that Pakistan will be leaving early for the South African in order to play a number of practice matches to climatise the unfit excuse seems just that an excuse.

    The recent refusal by Shoaib to sport the sponshership logo in the Twenty20 cup may have cost him more than just a fine.

    Shoaib should have been included. For too long Pakistan cricket has taken an interest in Shoaibs social life and using that as a reasons for his exclusion in cricketing contests. From a pure cricketing point of view...who cares what he does in his social life as long as he is performing on the field. Pakistan are wasting a talent which will possibly not be around in the not too distant future for them to utilise.

    Every other board in world cricket protects its players...except for the PCB.

    Even if he is unfit...there are enough games in South Africa which would enable him to get fit and that too under the watchful eye of the team management. Pakistan have enough fast bowling riches to take an unfit Shoaib with them, leaving him behiend makes no sense, especially with the world cup round the corner. Who would the South Africans rather face Shoaib Akhtar or Sami

  • Hamid on December 29, 2006, 19:05 GMT

    The guy hasn't played international cricket for a long time and hasn't performed well on return recently. Controversies apart, those are reasons enough to be dropped from the touring party.

  • robert bascus on December 29, 2006, 19:06 GMT

    shoaib is well love by antiguans and west indians a like simply because he is the fastes bowler in the world, he is excited and lively, we love him and we love inzi too, but i just have a feeling that inzi is not a big fan of shoaib. Pakistan people need to question the captain motives for not taking his best fast bowler to south africa, the way south africa's top order crumble under the medium pace of the indians, shoaib at 94 miles would surely be breakin records just by showing up. I sa inzi be fair to shoaib, we want to see, smith and boys will thank you after you lost.

  • Raza Zaidi on December 29, 2006, 19:22 GMT

    Good riddance, I'd say! It'll make the dressing room atmosphere more pleasant for the Pak team. National hero!?? please!

    But one negative effect of his omission is that Sami is back! Ugghhhhh! Nothing I can do but pull my hair out. Happy hunting, South Africa. Here's a New Year's gift for you...a toy for you play with in the field. Pull him, cut him, drive him, hit him, and knock the stuffing out of the ball that he presnts you with on a platter.

  • Euceph Ahmed on December 29, 2006, 20:17 GMT

    Two careers reach a glorious end Down Under. One of them the bad boy of Australian cricket, who bows out in supreme form as nothing less than an all-time great to have ever played the game. The bad boy of Pakistan cricket on the other hand, begins to be pushed out humiliated, scorned, ridiculed, and tainted. There are no parallels to be drawn here.

    I cannot help but see this as the end of Shoaib’s career. He might stage a comeback for the world cup but then what? I see darkness, total darkness thereafter. His tanks of energy and glamour are running on empty. Bye bye corporate sponsors one by one. Hello Bollywood. And hello sponsors again.

    If there’s a lesson to be learnt, it should be in the comparison of how Cricket Australia managed its star cricketer versus how the PCB turned its star cricketer into a spoiled brat. CA reaped the ultimate benefit out of the controversies of Shane Warne’s soap opera life while using his own psychology to keep him focused on taking wickets. The cronies at the PCB, however, focused only on winning the next match and the next tournament, exposed themselves so badly that the tail started wagging the dog. Shoaib was made to feel that he was indispensable. Top that with the corporate sponsors who jumped in to spoil the broth and it was way too much for the poor guy to handle. Everyone, from the managers to the coaches and the captains, to the sponsors, journalists, and fans have some sort of a contribution in his demise, not to exclude his complete inability to handle fame and fortune.

    What will be Shoaib's legacy? Laughable at best.