The clearance means that Malik is likely to be included in the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe starting later this month. —AP photo

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday cleared former captain Shoaib Malik over allegations of illegal earnings, paving his way for a return to international cricket.

The 29-year-old Malik has not been selected for Pakistan since last summer's tour of England after he failed to account for money held in an overseas bank account before an integrity committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

“I am very happy as the prayers of my mother, family and my wife have been answered,” Malik, who married Indian tennis star Sania Mirza last year, told AFP.

The committee had been formed on the directive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to purge Pakistan cricket of corruption in the wake of a fixing scandal during team's tour to England last year.

The spot-fixing case ended in lengthy bans on former Test captain Salman Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer.

Malik appeared before the committee on Monday and provided documents to justify the amount in his account.

The committee, chaired by PCB chairman Ijaz Butt on Friday announced Malik was cleared after a thorough investigation.

“The committee after detailed deliberations has unanimously reached the conclusion that Malik has established that the said deposits in his overseas account did not emanate from any questionable source,” the committee said.

“Hence Malik is hereby cleared by the committee,” it added.

The clearance means that Malik is likely to be included in the squad for the tour of Zimbabwe starting later this month.

He was already included in the reserve players subject to clearance for the tour in which Pakistan play one Test, three one-dayers and two Twenty20 matches.

Malik was handed the reins of the team after Pakistan's first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup held in the West Indies.

But PCB axed him as captain following team's 2-1 defeat against Sri Lanka in a home one-day series in 2009. He has played 32 Tests, 192 ODIs and 32 Twenty20 matches since making his debut in 1999.

“The last year was very tough on me and not playing the 2011 World Cup was the biggest tradegy in my life, but now I will do my best and perform for my country whenever I get a chance,” he said.

Another under-suspicion player Danish Kaneria also appeared before the committee on Monday but the committee said his case was deferred until a court decides his petition against the PCB's non-clearance.

Kaneria and his Essex county team mate Mervyn Westfield were arrested in England last year over allegations of spot-fixing during a Pro40 match in 2009. Kaneria was later released without being charged but Westfield faces criminal proceedings.

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