World Cup 2007 January 10, 2007

Pakistan include Shoaib and Asif

Cricinfo staff



Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are in Pakistan's provisional World Cup squad © Getty Images
Pakistan have included both Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif in their provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup, despite uncertainty remaining over their doping cases.

Shoaib and Asif were cleared last month by a Pakistan Cricket Board committee of taking the banned steroid nandrolone knowingly, having previously been banned from cricket for two years and one year respectively.

However, the World Anti-Doping Agency has since challenged the lifting of the ban, while the PCB insists that both are eligible to play. Asif is at present in South Africa with the rest of the Pakistan squad, while Akhtar is due to fly out on Thursday after being named as a replacement.

Wasim Bari, the chief Pakistani selector, said: "As far as we are concerned both Asif and Akhtar are free to play. We will cross the bridge when it comes."

Bari added that he was confident Pakistan would fair well in the tournament: "We have a decent side and if we improve our fielding we can match any side in the world".

Shabbir Ahmed, the quick bowler who recently served a one-year ban for an illegal bowling action, is also included in the provisional squad for the tournament, which Pakistan won in 1992. The final names will be announced on February 13, and the side will be captained by Inzamam-ul-Haq.

Pakistan squad: Inzamam-ul-Haq (capt), Younis Khan, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shahid Nazir, Danish Kaneria, Yasir Hameed, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Abdul Rehman, Salman Butt, Faisal Iqbal, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Rao Iftikhar, Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Khalil, Bazid Khan, Mansoor Amjad, Zulqarnain Haider, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Hasan Raza.

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