Shoaib, Asif in Pakistan WC 30

Pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, both of whom have doping cases looming large over their heads, have been named in the 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup 2007.

Although Shoaib and Asif were cleared last month, by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee, following their initial two- and one-year ban sentence respectively for taking the banned steroid nandrolone knowingly, their immediate futures still seem in jeopardy. The World Anti-Doping Agency has since questioned the PCB’s decision of lifting of the ban on the two players.

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.”

Asif is already drafted back in to the Pakistan side, and is going to be a part of the upcoming Test series against South Africa; Shoaib, who originally was not selected for the tour, is now going to return too, as a replacement for the injured Umar Gul.

The final squad will be announced on February 13.

Pakistan squad:
Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), 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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