Tribunal upholds Shoaib ban, his chances at IPL dim (Lead)

April 30th, 2008 - 10:56 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar

Islamabad/Kolkata, April 30 (IANS) Pakistan’s fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s international career lay in tatters after an appellate tribunal in Islamabad Wednesday upheld the five-year ban imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The tribunal, however, kept Akhtar’s options of playing in Indian Premier League open by allowing him to play outside the country.

However, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah firmly declared Wednesday: “Shoaib Akhtar cannot play at the IPL till PCB allows him to play for his home-team at Pakistan. We will remain firm at our decision.”

The appelate tribunal verdict came after Akhtar, who was banned by the Pakistani Cricket Board on several counts of violating the player’s code of conduct, tendered an unconditional apology to the country and the chairman.

“After taking into consideration his apology and other circumstances, the appellate tribunal has decided to continue the five-year ban on Shoaib Akhtar, but he can play in any country other than Pakistan,” chairman of the appellate tribunal Justice (retd) Aftab Farrukh announced after the hearing.

The PCB had appointed the three-member tribunal after Akhtar appealed against the ban imposed on him early April. The tribunal will hold the next hearing in June, Farrukh said after the interim decision Wednesday.

Reading the decision, Farrukh said that Shoaib has been found guilty of misconduct where he has “caused harm to PCB, its chairman and people of Pakistan”.

“He cannot play in the country or cannot represent the country anywhere,” he added.

Asked if the tribunal’s interim decision on allowing Akhtar to play outside Pakistan was taken under pressure from the IPL, the chairman said: “Absolutely not. We have taken the decision in view of Shoaib’s unconditional apology to the PCB and the people of Pakistan”.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still to give him the green signal. But Nitranjan Shah said flatly: “Shoaib Akhtar cannot play at the IPL till PCB allows him to play for his home-team at Pakistan. We will remain firm at our decision.”

IPL Commissoner Lalit Modi said that a decision on Shoaib’s future will be taken soon.

Kolkata Knight Riders bought Shoaib Akhtar but skipper Sourav Ganguly seems to have taken the fast-bowler’s absence in his stride.

“I am missing Shoaib in the team. This was our first chance to play, not against each other but together. But we can question neither PCB nor BCCI on their respective decisions. Hope he will be with us in the next league,” Knight Riders captain Sourav Ganguly told IANS.

Aamir Bilal, media advisor to the PCB, said chances of Shoaib playing for the IPL look pretty bleak.

“They [IPL] will not allow him to play the game unless they make an exception or make amendments in the contract,” says Bilal talking to IANS by phone from Islamabad.

Bilal said the contract clearly mentions that a player would not be allowed to appear if he has been banned from playing for his country.

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