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Pakistan star Mohammad Asif barred from England games

Mohammad Asif
Asif was banned from Dubai following a drugs arrest in 2008

Pakistan will be without key fast bowler Mohammad Asif for the two Twenty20 internationals against England in Dubai on 19 and 20 February.

Asif, 27, is banned from entering the United Arab Emirates after being stopped for possession of opium at Dubai airport in June 2008.

Pakistan, skippered by Shoaib Malik, have dropped wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.

Akmal hit 64 from 33 balls in their last match, a narrow Twenty20 defeat to Australia in a low-scoring match.

But he came under severe criticism for wicketkeeping errors in Australia, and was dropped for the third Test match.

Sarfraz Ahmed, 22, who deputised for him in that game in Hobart but has not played any Twenty20 internationals, faces a key series against Paul Collingwood's England in the two matches at Dubai Sports City.

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Asif spent 19 days in detention when arrested in the UAE and was barred from re-entering Dubai, though no criminal charges were pressed.

A Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman said: "We tried to get clearance for him from the authorities in Dubai so that he could play as he is our key bowler but it didn't work out."

Pakistan's regular Twenty20 captain, Shahid Afridi, will miss the first game to complete a two-match ban for ball-tampering during the fifth one-day international against Australia. The all-rounder has, however, been confirmed as captain for Pakistan's defence of the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in April and May.

Coach Intikhab Alam will not travel with the squad. He faces an inquiry after the disastrous tour of Australia and has been replaced for the matches by former Test batsman Ijaz Ahmed, who has been given the title of batting and fielding coach.

Pakistan lost every game on their tour of Australia, while England shared the Twenty20s and Tests in South Africa, and won a rain-hit one-day series. They named their squad for Dubai in January, with Ajmal Shahzad, James Tredwell and Liam Plunkett included in the squad.

England fly directly on to Bangladesh afterwards, for three one-day internationals and two Tests.


Pakistan squad: Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik (captain), Shahid Afridi, Yasir Arafat, Abdul Razzaq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Fawad Alam, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal.



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see also
Aussies sink Pakistan in classic
05 Feb 10 |  Cricket
England role tempts Aussie Lawson
05 Feb 10 |  England
Pakistan chief selector resigns
01 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Banned Afridi replaced by Malik
01 Feb 10 |  Cricket
Cook stands in for jaded Strauss
18 Jan 10 |  England
PCB reveals Asif opium detention
18 Nov 08 |  Pakistan
Asif held for 'illegal substance'
03 Jun 08 |  South Asia
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket


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