Spot-fixing controversy December 31, 2010

Pakistan selectors defer squad announcement

ESPNcricinfo staff

Despite an extensive meeting of the PCB's integrity committee, Pakistan's selectors failed to finalise a 15-man squad for the ODI series against New Zealand or a list of 30 probables for the 2011 World Cup. Though the board has been given till January 5 by the ICC to announce the World Cup probables, it was thought the selectors would have announced squads on Friday.

"We had lengthy discussions on performance and availability of many players," chief selector Mohsin Khan said after a meeting with fellow selectors on Friday. "We were of the opinion that since we still have a few days before the deadline for announcing the World Cup Squad it would be better to wait until there is absolute clarity from PCB on the availability for selection of certain players."

The players Khan refers to are Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria. The trio appeared in front of the integrity committee on Thursday. The players submitted further documents detailing financial and property records and were spoken to individually by members of the committee.

The committee is considering whether or not to clear the players for future selection for Pakistan assignments. The three have not played for Pakistan in any format since the summer tour to England, having not been cleared for selection by the integrity committee. Though the board has made no official comment and not charged the players, it is understood it has concerns about the trio.

Accordingly, none have been picked for various squads; Kaneria was in the Test squad for the South Africa series but was prevented from travelling by the board to the UAE at the very last minute. Akmal even wrote to the ICC to ask whether he was the subject of any corruption inquiry or case and was subsequently told there was nothing on him.

The announcement of both squads has now been deferred till early next week.

On Thursday, the integrity committee also spoke with Yasir Hameed. The opener apologised to the board over his conversation with an undercover reporter in September during a sting operation conducted by News of the World, where he was recorded talking about the three players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir - suspected of being involved in spot-fixing. Hameed hasn't been part of the national team since that tour of England.

"I was trapped into it but I should not have said all that before a stranger and I apologise to all the players who were hurt because of that," Hameed told AFP.

During the course of the video, Hameed discussed the fall-out of the spot-fixing controversy, the Sydney Test and Hameed's claim that a bookie approached him during the 2004 Champions Trophy in England.

Hameed, who claimed the man he was speaking to in the video had posed as a representative of a global airline trying to discuss a sponsorship deal, had denied speaking to NOTW and said he was merely repeating information from the original reports in the same newspaper when the story on the controversy broke.

In his statement, Hameed said that after discussing sponsorship deals, the man he knew by the name of Abid Khan, offered him a sum of £25,000 to give a statement against his three team-mates who found themselves at the centre of the controversy to which Hameed said, he, "immediately refused and put the phone down. I was neither called nor answered any calls from Abid after this conversation."