'Kamran included in the team only after ICC gave clearance'

The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Zaka Ashraf has clarified that wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal was included in the national team only after the ICC gave him clearance.

Kamran was recalled to the national Twenty20 squad for the upcoming series against Australia in the UAE and for the ICC T20 World Cup after being sidelined by the selectors and the board since the 2011 World Cup because of some of his suspicious performances.

"As regards Kamran Akmal, the PCB approached the ruling global body ICC and asked if the ICC had any objection to Kamran's selection.

"The ICC (International Cricket Council) said it had nothing against Kamran Akmal and when clearance came from ICC, then the PCB integrity committee cleared him for national selection," Ashraf was quoted as saying by a TV channel.

"Moreover Pakistan badly needed a keeper who could also contribute with the bat also," Ashraf added.

The national selectors recalled Kamran after seeking clearance from the board for his selection.

The board had convened a meeting of its integrity committee, which spoke to Kamran before clearing him for selection.

Since 2010, suspicions have been raised over some of Kamran's shoddy performances and he was also named during the spot-fixing trial last year in London in which Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif were later given different jail sentences for spot-fixing on the England tour in 2010.

Ashraf, who is clearly not in very good terms with his predecessor Ijaz Butt, said that despite ICC asking the former chief to take action against Salman Butt, Asif and Aamir, he did not do anything.

"The ICC had asked former Chairman of PCB, Ijaz Butt to initiate action against Salman Butt, Asif and Aamir in Pakistan for involvement in spot-fixing. Unfortunately Mr Butt did not do it and then the ICC had to take action that resulted in long term bans and embarrassment," said Ashraf.

He also said the PCB had now decided to regulate and monitor the club and regional cricket as the ICC has informed the Board that it (ICC) had reports of corruption at lower level of cricket in Pakistan also.

The PCB from this year has made it mandatory for organisers to seek NOC from the board for organising private T20 tournaments during the month of Ramazan or at any time of the year.

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