cricket20 :: Shoaib sent home after Asif row
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Shoaib sent home after Asif row

Shoaib Akhtar's future as an international cricketer could now be in doubt after being sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup after a bust-up with Mohammad Asif.

Shoaib, who was already on probation for a disciplinary breach last month, confronted Asif in the dressing room after training on Thursday.

The incident left Asif with bruising to his left thigh, prompting an internal investigation in South Africa.

"A decision has been taken to call back Shoaib after an initial inquiry," said Pakistan chief executive Shafqat Nagmi.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) fully endorses this decision. Shoaib Akhtar will be returning on the first available flight."

The decision to send Shoaib home came just five days before Pakistan play their opening World Twenty20 fixture against Scotland.

Media manager Dr Ehsan Malik insisted Asif would be fit to start that game, saying: "Asif has a bruise on his left thigh but he has had X-rays and has been cleared. He is fine as far as I know."

But Shoaib's future as an international cricketer could now be in doubt.

The 32-year-old was looking to relaunch his career after 16 months in which he has played just one Test and four one-dayers, mainly due to fitness problems.

He has been dogged by controversy for much of his career, and was banned for two years after failing a drugs test last October before having the suspension lifted on appeal.

Last month he was fined for leaving a training camp in Karachi without asking permission from the team manager, though the penalty was suspended for two months and the bowler placed on a six-week probationary period, again on appeal.

Shoaib also courted controversy on Thursday when he hit out at cricket's administrators, claiming rule changes and pitch conditions in the modern game favour batsmen over fast bowlers.

"Cricket should be about fast bowlers, not batsmen," he said. "Spectators like to see fast bowlers running in, hurting people, and pitches that make batsmen struggle for runs.

"But now we play on good batting tracks all the time, they've made laws about bouncers and free hits for a no-ball."

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