PCB to set up committee to probe Umar-Junaid spat

Umar Akmal pads up AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board will set up an inquiry committee to investigate a controversy arising out of Umar Akmal's comments on Junaid Khan's availability during a Pakistan Cup match on Thursday. Umar, who is captaining Punjab in the tournament, was asked about the team changes at the toss for the side's match against Sindh on Thursday and stated that Nasir Nawaz had replaced Junaid Khan in the XI.

When pressed for reasons, Umar said, "I just found out when I walked into the ground that he [Junaid] is absent. I'm very surprised. The manager and coach told me he's not going to be playing today. It's shocking news for me, as captain."

This prompted Junaid to issue a rebuttal shortly, in the form of a video message filmed from his hotel room.

"I am saddened to hear the remarks Umar Akmal made on television, saying 'I ran away from the team'. I have not run away," Junaid said. "I am dealing with a case of food poisoning and the team management is aware of that. In fact, I was advised by the team doctor not to play today. Umar Akmal knew of this, and it was a shock for me to hear him say what he did, and I don't know why he said it."

Shafiq Ahmed, the PCB's general manager (domestic), will head the committee, and announce its findings "as early as possible".

Umar and Junaid are both part of Pakistan's squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in June, which the PCB announced earlier this week.