Karachi:Former Pakistan captains Zaheer Abbas and Moin Khan on Thursday backed interim selection committee's decision to leave controversial speedster Shoaib Akhtar out of preliminary squad for ICC Champions Trophy scheduled in South Africa later this year.
Abbas, who has played 78 Tests for Pakistan, feels Akhtar has only himself to blame for his omission from the 30-member Champions Trophy squad.
"I think the selectors have taken right decision because he was constantly behaving like a spoiled child. He has to realise that a professional cricketer is only popular and sought after until he is performing for his country," Abbas said.
"It is unfortunate that Akhtar has focused less on his cricket and more on the other things particularly in the last three years," he added.
Disciplinary and fitness issues have greatly restricted Akhtar from representing his country in international arena during the last three years while many feel his attitude and behavioral problems have led to decline in his popularity even among teammates and the cricket establishment.
"I have said before also that it is time to retire because he was struggling against Australia and didn't look fit at all," Abbas said.
Former wicketkeeper Moin Khan also feels that Akhtar for too long had been walking a thin rope.
"He has not valued his place in Pakistan team himself. I feel sad when I look at this career because he has been a match winner. But players can't be allowed to be bigger than the team," he said.
However, another former captain Waqar Younis feels that the bowler should have been included in the preliminary squad at least.
"There is no doubt he is a match winner on his day and even in the few matches he has played in the last two or three years he has shown bite in his bowling. Any team needs a bowler of his pace in the side all the time.
"I think he should have been named in the preliminary squad and told to go and train hard and play domestic matches to win a place in final 15-member squad for the tournament," said Younis, who himself was a fast bowler.
It is no secret that neither captain Younis Khan nor coach Intikhab Alam and even some PCB officials were least interested in seeing Akhtar in the team even though he claims to be fit for ODIs and Twenty20 matches.
The signals were clear once he was dropped from the T20 World Cup squad because of a medical condition just two weeks after having played in four ODIs and a T20 match against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The PCB sources believe that Akhtar's career may well be over as he has annoyed a lot of people.
"So many of his coaches, captains and teammates have complained about his behaviour and refusal to fit into the general team culture, about his wild lifestyle. He has damaged himself and only has himself to blame for his problems," the source said.
The PCB last year had slapped a five-year ban on him for violating probation terms but an appellate tribunal reduced the ban to 18-months and imposed a Rs seven million fine.
Shoaib has appealed against the decision in the Lahore High Court as the case is still being heard.