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‘Chances of Asif, Salman returning to national cricket team slim’

By Buenos Aires

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board’s director domestic cricket Haroon Rashid said chances of spot-fixing convicted players Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt returning to the national squad are remote.

Briefing the Senate Standing Commit­tee on Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) which met here at Parliament House with Senator Mohammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar in the chair, former Test cricketer Haroon reckoned right-arm pacer Asif did not fulfil the fitness level required for international cricket.

Earlier, Senator Faisal Javed queried Haroon about the status of Asif and ex-national captain Salman both of whom were found involved in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s 2010 tour to England; later after completing their jail terms and bans imposed by the International Cricket Council, they were allowed by the ICC to play cricket but both of them had not been given chance to represent the country, added the Senator.

Responding to this, Haroon said Mohammad Amir’s case was different from Asif and Salman, noting when the spot-fixing case surfaced Amir was under 19 years of age and confessed to spot-fixing before campaigning for the ICC and the PCB against the menace of fixing. Whereas Asif and Salman, Haroon added, had not confessed to their involvement in spot-fixing, until they were declared guilty.

“I think, instead on focusing on these two players, the PCB is concentrating on [developing] young players, who have [potentially] long careers ahead,” Haroon said.

Earlier while answering another question, Haroon said there was no rift between national team’s head coach Mickey Arthur and veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez.

Earlier, the committee was surprised to know that Pakistan for its domestic matches imports Duke cricket balls from England. Senator Faisal told the committee that cricketers have been complaining that the PCB recommends Duke ball of England, which is originally manufactured in Sialkot.

The senator said the ball is expensive for cricketers who had to purchase it for around Rs10,000. To this, Haroon admitted that Duke ball is imported from England. “The ball is available in market for Rs8,000,” Haroon said. “The Sialkot-based factory, which makes these balls, despite efforts made by the PCB is not ready to [directly] supply these balls to us.”