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Wednesday, December 20, 2000

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PCB set to give Akram a reprieve

By Rizwan Ehsan Ali

ISLAMABAD, DEC. 19. Paceman Wasim Akram, who was in danger of losing his place on the Pakistan team for next February's tour of New Zealand, is set to be given a reprieve.

Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) say that Wasim's performance in the recent series against England was thoroughly discussed at the Advisory Council meeting over the weekend. It was decided that he should be given another chance to strike form and lift the team.

The role of captain Moin Khan also came under discussion and the house felt that captaincy had affected his batting and wicketkeeping but the PCB President, Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia, decided that he be allowed to continue.

The meeting also discussed elevating Inzamam-ul-Haq as captain, but Lt. Gen. Zia was of the view that Moin Khan would have learnt his lessons from the England series and hence should carry on.

The team's batting and bowling were also examined and the members of the Advisory Council felt that it was time to consider Muhammad Wasim, Muhammad Akram, Hassan Raza and Wajahatullah Wasti for selection.

Lt. Gen. Zia will hold a meeting with chief selector Wasim Bari in which, sources say, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper will be informed that he is being relieved of his duties as chairman of the selection committee.

Salahuddin Ahmed and Zaheer Abbas are said to be in the running to replace Bari, who will be appointed the Board's Marketing Director on deputation from his employers Pakistan International Airlines.

At this point of time, it is not clear whether the other members of the current selection committee - Iqbal Qasim and Ehteshamuddin - would continue under the new chairman.

The future of team manager Brig (retd) Khwaja Nasir was also discussed and a decision on whether to replace him or not will be made next week.

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