Yahoo News | Indian Express | Wed, Jul 14 2010 | 12:28 PM
Pakistan team manager Yawar Saeed has dismissed reports that Shoaib Malik was not considered for the first Test against Australia on disciplinary grounds and said the former captain was dropped from the playing eleven because of his poor form. There were reports in the media that Malik was dropped from the team for the first Test against Australia which started yesterday at Lord’s after the experienced all-rounder skipped a few practice sessions to be with his wife, India’s Sania Mirza.
But Yawar rubbished the reports, saying they were untrue and baseless. "The team was picked well in advance and the tour selection committee did not pick Malik because he is still trying to find his form," Yawar said from London. "The spirit of the team is high and all the players have gelled together. There have been no disciplinary issues as yet at all," he said. Malik married Indian tennis ace Sania earlier this year in a much-hyped ceremony in Hyderabad. Soon after his publicised wedding, Malik, who was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for one year over indiscipline, was recalled in the national team for last month’s Asia Cup after an appeals tribunal cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Malik himself was surprised by the report since he had not missed a single practice session and said he was ignored only because of his form. "Even when we go out of the hotel we do it with the knowledge and permission of the team management," he said. "I have not been selected because the tour selection committee felt that it was better to give a chance to youngsters for this Test and also I am trying to get back to my best form," Malik said. The PCB has issued strict instructions to the team management not to show leniency to any player during the tour and to deal strongly with incidents of cricketers violating the code of conduct.
Sources, however, said that Malik and enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had been on their best behavior since returning to the Pakistan team last month. "In fact the board has asked the team management including the captain and coach and also the selection committee to send a report on the behavior, form and fitness of Malik so that he can considered for a central contract," one source said. Malik was robbed of his central contract this year because of the ban and fine imposed on him by the PCB for indiscipline during Pakistan’s disastrous tour of Australia.