LAHORE: Umar Akmal is cleared of all charges leveled against him and the board has included him in T20 squad for England series.
The PCB, without investigating, acted on unauthentic reports and left out the right-hander from the UAE-bound T20 squad over disciplinary ground. A move many seen as playing with the career of a decent player. The PCB put Akmal’s career as well as his social and personal life in jeopardy for punishing him just on the basis of media reports which were later denied by Hyderabad police, who gave him a clean-chit. As the innocence of the player was proved by the very statement of Hyderabad police chief within hours when the player’s name was dragged into the controversy.
PCB executive committee chairman Najam Sethi told the reporters that the Hyderabad police, who were investigating into the incident of the cricketer being involved in immoral and objectionable activities during a party, had cleared Umar in their report. “We had said before if he is cleared by the police, he will be included in the T20 squad,” Sethi said. The PCB decided to sideline Umar for the T20 series against England after the media reported that he was picked up by the police during a raid in a bungalow in Hyderabad, where a dance party was taking place.
Umar was also issued a show-cause notice and told to explain whether he was involved in immoral and objectionable activities. “Umar was in contention for a place in the T20 squad, but he was not considered following the board issuing him a show-cause notice after the press reports revealed that he had brought the PCB and Pakistan cricket into disrepute,” the PCB spokesman had said.
Umar has maintained even in his explanation to the board that he had just gone to a dinner party with some teammates while playing the domestic match for his department, Sui Northern Gas. “I attended a dinner party after being granted official permission by (SNGPL’s) team manager,” he wrote in his explanation.
Pakistan T20 skipper Shahid Afridi also called for the Akmal case to be solved as soon as possible so that Umar might be included in the squad and further boost the national team chances of winning the England T20 series. “Subsequent to his being cleared by the inquiry initiated by the PCB’s security and vigilance department with regard to media reports of an incident in Hyderabad, Umar (Akmal) has been inducted in the T20 squad against England,” said a PCB statement.
PCB chief selector Haroon Rasheed said Akmal was cleared over a reported breach of discipline in which he was alleged to have misbehaved with women at a dance party. “Umar had been part of the original squad picked up by the selection committee, but he was subsequently held back on instructions from the Board, as he had been issued with a show cause notice for bringing PCB and Pakistan cricket into disrepute,” the statement quoted Rasheed as saying. “Now that he has been cleared after an inquiry into the Hyderabad incident, he has been included in the squad.”
REVISED SQUAD: Shahid Afridi (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Rafatullah Mohmand, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Akmal, M Rizwan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Bilal Asif, Imran Khan Junior, M Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz and Aamer Yamin.
NEO Web Desk