Iftikhar replaces Akhtar

ISLAMABAD: Rao Iftikhar was confirmed as replacement for fellow paceman Shoaib Akhtar in the Pakistan squad on Monday for next month’s Twenty20 World Cup.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) dropped Akhtar from its squad last week due to a skin infection, prompting it to seek approval to replace him from the Twenty20 World Cup organisers. “The event technical committee of the World Twenty20 approved Iftikhar as a replacement for Shoaib Akhtar,” the ICC said. Akhtar is ruled out of the entire T20 World Cup after the ICC also said that once a player is replaced he is ineligible to return to the team.

Pakistan are in Group B along with the Netherlands and hosts England for the tournament, which begins from June 5. Akhtar will miss his fourth ICC event in the last three years. He was pulled out just before the 2006 Champions Trophy for a positive drug test. Akhtar missed the 2007 World Cup due to fitness problems. Akhtar was fined and suspended when he hit teammate Mohammad Asif with the bat just before the 2007 World Twenty20 Championship.