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PCB forms committee to probe Arthur-Akmal rift

LAHORE: The fallout from middle order Umar Akmal’s accusations against head coach Mickey Arthur rumbles on as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has formed a committee to look into the matter. The committee comprises three members: director of cricket operations Haroon Rasheed, director of media Amjad Bhatti and the PCB’s general manager legal Salman Naseer. Though the claims behind Akmal’s allegations can be verified with relative ease, the committee is likely to stumble upon logistical difficulties from the start. Inzamamul Haq, a key witness to the alleged “abusive language” Arthur subjected Umar Akmal to, is out of the country performing Hajj, while Arthur is away on holiday and not expected to return till the second week of September.

Earlier this week, National Cricket Academy head coach Mushtaq Ahmed denied that abusive language was directed towards Umar by the head coach, saying Arthur used “slang words” but they were not directed at Umar. The PCB initially appeared to throw its weight behind Arthur by issuing the show-cause notice to Umar immediately after his outburst, but this latest development suggests that the matter remains wide open. The statement issued by the PCB at the time seemed to leave no room for the formation of a committee to ascertain blame. “The PCB strongly condemns reckless statements made by batsman Umar with regards to his omission from the ICC Champions Trophy squad,” it read.

“Head coach Arthur had placed Umar in his white ball format plans and gave him repeated chances for redemption. Unfortunately, though, the batsman remained incapable of reaching the required fitness level. The PCB awaits his response to the show cause notice issued to him yesterday and hopes that, in the meantime, the batsman will refrain from making baseless allegations.” Arthur’s predecessor Waqar Younis, one of Umar’s harsher critics of late, had advised against the formation of a committee in a press conference on Thursday. “This matter needs to be resolved by way of mutual understanding,” Waqar said. “Someone needs to sit Umar down and explain to him that when a teacher or any other senior figure ticks you off, it isn’t such a big deal. I don’t think Arthur would have gone overboard when chastising Umar. It’s purely frustration on his part because he isn’t part of the team.”

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