Shoaib Akhtar’s 5 Year Ban Upheld
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was cleared Wednesday to resume his career outside the country, while an appeal tribunal considered his challenge to a five-year ban.
“Akhtar can play anywhere in the world except for Pakistan,” said Farrukh Aftab, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board appeal tribunal, told reporters.
The decision clears the way for Akhtar to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition, where he had been signed by the Calcutta franchisee – Kolkata Knight Riders owned by the Bollywood Stars – Shah rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla. Previously, he had been unable to take his place in the IPL as Indian authorities considered his Pakistan ban as binding upon their competition.
Akhtar’s lawyer Abid Hassan Minto told reporters that it would request the appeal tribunal meet again before its scheduled deliberation in June if the IPL did not lift its upholding of the Pakistan ban.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had banned the temperamental international paceman for five years earlier this month for repeated disciplinary breaches.
Akhtar appealed the ban, and the PCB formed a three-member appeal committee.
“The appellate tribunal will meet again in June to decide about Akhtar’s appeal against the ban, but at the moment he is banned for five years to play any domestic cricket or international cricket for Pakistan,” Aftab said.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has rejected Shoaib Akhtar’s appeal against the five-year ban imposed on him for repeated disciplinary breaches, but confirmed that he is free to resume his career overseas. The decision means Shoaib is free to compete in the Indian Premier League while remaining persona non grata on home soil.
In principle, Akhtar can now fulfil his commitments to IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders, who he joined for £215,000 in February’s auction. His Pakistan ban was viewed by the IPL hierarchy as precluding his participation in the tournament.
The appeal panel, appointed by the PCB and comprising Furrukh, Salman Taseer and Haseeb Ahsan, upheld the initial decision prior to reconvening in June. However, Akhtar’s lawyer, Abid Hassan Minto, stressed Shoaib’s eagerness for the domestic ban to be reconsidered sooner.
IPL to decide if Shoaib Akhtar can be a Knight Rider
Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday made it clear that it will abide by the Indian Premier League’s decision on whether or not to allow Shoaib Akhtar to play in the tournament after his five-year ban was upheld by the PCB’s Appelate Tribunal.
“We just want to be very careful that we observe all the guidelines and codes of the IPL,” said Joy Bhattacharjee, Marketing head of the Knight Riders.
“Obviously, when we bid for him it means that as a player we wanted him as a part of us but before we do anything, we have already seen that the IPL has taken very strong decisions regarding code of conduct, so firstly we have to leave everything to their hands to decide what is best for the League and then of course think of taking things forward,” he said.
Bhattacharjee also said the IPL could review their stance on Shoaib only after they receive an official communication from the PCB on the issue.
“It is a question of when the Pakistan Cricket Board gives a formal intimation to us, that is the question that the IPL is looking at and only after those hurdles are crossed definitely we will be happy to review how we can put a foot forward in playing Shoaib,” he said.
The appellate tribunal of the PCB on Wednesday rejected Shoaib’s appeal to revoke the five-year ban on him and upheld the suspension but allowed him to play in the IPL.
IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi had earlier said that a banned played could not be a part of the IPL.