Shoaib Malik included in Pakistan squad for Zimbabwe series

Shoaib Malik’s name was already there in the list of reserve players for Zimbabwe tour Getty Images

Lahore: Aug 21, 2011

A day after insisting that former captain Shoaib Malik would not accompany the Pakistan team immediately to Zimbabwe, the cricket board did a U-turn and announced his inclusion in the full squad.

In its announcement on Sunday, the board said that Malik had been included in the Zimbabwe-bound squad after consultations between the national selection committee and team management and would join the last day of the training camp in Lahore, PTI reported.

“Since his name was already in the list of reserve players for the tour and the PCB integrity committee has cleared him to play he was a certain selection,” chief selector Mohsin Khan said.

Malik, 29, was just cleared three days back by the integrity committee of the board which had kept him out of the team since August 2010 because of doubts over some deposited sums found in his overseas bank accounts.

The committee finally cleared Malik saying that the allrounder had managed to satisfy them with documents and answers over the deposited sum and was free to play for Pakistan again.

The inclusion of Malik also comes as a surprise as the national selectors have insisted that the Zimbabwe tour would be used to try out new faces and have rested several senior players for the tour.

“What was the hurry in recalling Malik to the team. Was it some political pressure or what. The way the board is running affairs it is a sham,” a former test captain said.

Mohsin Khan explained that since Malik’s name was already in the list of reserve players for the tour and the PCB integrity committee cleared him it was felt the team needed his experience for the tour.

To justify their decision, the board also had head coach, Waqar Younis backing Malik’s comeback to the team.

“I think Malik still has lot of cricket to give to Pakistan and it is good to see that he is now available for Pakistan again. His experience will be good for the team,” Waqar said.

Pakistan squad leaves on August 25 for Zimbabwe with Waqar having announced this would be his last tour as head coach as due to personal and health reasons he will step down after the series of one Test, three ODIs and a T20 match.

The deposits in Malik’s foreign account came to light after the spot fixing scandal broke out in England last year and the PCB directed all players to submit their complete assets and bank account details as part of its new anti-corruption measures.

Malik who has played 32 Tests and 192 one-day internationals and is married to Indian Tennis star, Sania Mirza last played for Pakistan in England and since then was not considered for selection.

The seasoned allrounder who led Pakistan between 2007 after the World Cup to early 2009 before being replaced as captain by Younis Khan has been named among the reserves for the Zimbabwe.