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February 11, 2008
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has officially asked Shoaib Akhtar and Danish Kaneria to explain recent statements the pair made in the media about the newly-awarded central contracts.
Kaneria and Shoaib suffered in the new list announced last month by the board; the former was demoted from category B to C, while the latter was taken off the list altogether and only handed a retainership.
In his column on bigstarcricket.com, Kaneria said he felt he deserved more respect as an established senior player in the side and was not satisfied with the board's explanation of his demotion. "I am not complaining and frustrated for financial reasons, it is just an embarrassment for me and it pains me very much. I have spoken with the PCB but there does not seem to be any sign that my situation is going to change.
"[PCB] officials have said that part of the reason for my demotion is that I only play Test cricket, but this is not my fault. I have always been desperate to be given a chance to prove myself as a wicket-taker in ODIs but never have had that opportunity on an extended basis. My behaviour has always been good on tours, I am rarely injured, what more do I have to do?"
Shoaib, meanwhile, has refused to accept the retainership on offer to him and also criticised the board for inconsistency in their policies over the weekend. These are the comments over which the board has pulled him up. "I was made a scapegoat after Pakistan lost the Test and ODI series in India," he said. "I bowled my heart out with 17 overs during the Bangalore Test just to hear that I was unfit and now, suddenly, the PCB considers me fit enough to lead a team in the Pentangular Cup.
"I wanted to play the ODI series against Zimbabwe for getting match practice but was dropped from the team on the flimsy pretext that I was unfit." He later questioned how a player who had barely played any cricket over the last few months could retain a category A contract, while others who had played were demoted. "It is all double standards," he concluded.
Letters have been sent to the players asking them to confirm these statements and explain them if needed. They have one week to respond.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Dolphins and Lahore Lions in Bangalore
The Plays of the day from the CLT20 match between Kings XI Punjab and Northern Knights, in Mohali