PCB inquiry prompts extension of WC squad deadline

Shoaib Malik gets off the team bus AFP

Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria have been given till the end of December to submit their replies to the PCB's integrity committee's queries, in order to gain clearance to play for Pakistan. The three players have been excluded from the Test and Twenty20 squads for the tour of New Zealand but could still be selected for the 2011 World cup after the ICC extended till January 5 Pakistan's deadline to name their 30 probables.

Dawn reported that the three players, who are facing inquiries over their possible roles in spot-fixing, had been asked by the board to present details regarding their movable and immovable properties, and activities other than cricket. The players had asked for more time to answer the questions and the board has given them till the end of December.

The PCB, who were supposed to announce their 30-man squad for the World Cup on December 19, asked the ICC for a later date and have been given till January 5.

The three have not played for Pakistan since their controversial tour of England in August and were left out of Pakistan's tour of the United Arab Emirates to play South Africa. Kamran and Malik have also been denied permission to play league cricket in Bangladesh. The PCB has remained fairly tight-lipped about the reasons for their exclusion.

Kaneria had said, after a meeting with the integrity committee, that he was cooperating with the board and providing them with details of his bank accounts and assets in order to gain clearance to play for the national side. He was the subject of a criminal investigation in August by Essex police over allegations that he was involved in spot-fixing during a county game but was released without charge in September.

Kamran and Malik had both criticised the board's decision not to clear them for the New Zealand tour. Kamran had written to the ICC asking if he was under investigation and was cleared by them. The ICC had sent him and Salman Butt notices during Pakistan's tour of England in August, seeking information about events related to the 2010 World Twenty20 held in the Caribbean in May.

Last month, Pakistani news channel Geo TV aired footage featuring alleged bookmaker Mazhar Majeed claiming Kamran was among seven players obeying his orders during matches. Kamran admitted Majeed was his marketing agent but denied that he had been involved in any wrongdoing.

Malik claimed he had not even been part of any of the Tests which were under the scanner for spot-fixing. He was not in the team for the Sydney Test nor against England at Lord's.