Wahab Riaz selected after ICC clearance: PCB chief

Zaka Ashraf said that the PCB had sought clarification from the ICC on the issue of selecting Wahab Riaz Getty Images

Karachi: Dec 31, 2011

The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Zaka Ashraf has admitted that left arm pacer Wahab Riaz was selected in the national team for the upcoming England series only after clearance from the ICC.

According to a report in the ‘Express Tribune’ newspaper, Ashraf said in an interview that the PCB had sought clarification from the ICC on the issue of selecting Wahab.

“Since his name was mentioned in the spot-fixing trial in London, as a precautionary measure we didn’t consider him for the matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But we inquired from the ICC if they had any evidence suggesting that Wahab might also be involved in the scandal,” said Ashraf.

“It was only after the ICC informed us they had no evidence against Wahab that we told the selectors ‘they should decide if they want him in the team for the England series’,” he added.

Initially the PCB had denied that it had asked for advice from the ICC for considering Wahab for the national selection.

Ashraf admitted that after the involvement of Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif in spot-fixing scandal and their subsequent bans and jail terms, the PCB had become very cautious while dealing with this issue.

He pointed out that the PCB had adopted a policy of taking no risks at all and that was the reason for seeking clarification on Wahab’s status before considering him for selection.

Ashraf also conceded that the spot-fixing scandal had badly damaged the image of Pakistan cricket and the PCB didn’t want a repeat of the scandal.

So only after the board obtained clearance on Wahab, the selectors decided to pick the bowler who they felt could play a big role in the upcoming series against England.

The recall of Wahab to the national team has caused an uproar in the British media with many newspapers cautioning that his presence in the Pakistan team could hurt relations between the two sides when they play in the United Arab Emirates.

Wahab was sidelined after initially being rested for the tour to Zimbabwe. Then he was picked for the Test series against Sri Lanka but was not included in the playing XI.

Thereafter, he was dropped for the One-day rubber and tour to Bangladesh around the same time when the spot-fixing trial ended in London during which his and Kamran Akmal’s names were mentioned in the trial.(PTI)