Umar Akmal likely to be allowed to join Pak T20 squad

Karachi: Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is likely to get a reprimand and be allowed to join the Pakistan national Twenty20 squad for the series against England.

Umar is currently facing an inquiry from the board into an incident last week when he was taken to a police station in Hyderabad from a dance party. The Pakistan Cricket Board has sought the police report of the incident. But Umar has claimed that he was innocent.

"I just went to a dinner party with some friends in Hyderabad when my team Sui Northern Gas was playing there against the home side. It was a dinner party and there was nothing immoral about it," Umar told reporters in Lahore. He also claimed that he had gone to the party with the permission of his team manager and coach.

"The media has blown the entire incident out of proportion and it has caused great pain to me, my family and my friends," Umar said. Indications that Umar will eventually be cleared and allowed to join the Pakistan T20 squad have come with statements from captain Shahid Afridi that if he was innocent he should be included in the team for the England series.

"I don't think this is such a serious matter that has been made out in the media. The board is looking into it and if he is innocent he should be included in the team," Afridi said. Basit Ali, who is the Chairman of the national junior selection committee, also met with PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan in Lahore and briefed him about the entire incident.

"Basit, who is also coach of the Sui Gas team, gave a clean chit to Umar in the meeting and told Shaharyar that the police were not even sure whether Umar was at this dance party," a source said. "It is clear that all attempts are being made to end the matter and clear Umar for selection," the source added.

The national selectors dropped Umar from the national T20 squad last week on the instructions of the board, which also issued a notice to Umar for unbecoming and immoral behaviour.

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