Pakistan allows Shoaib Akhtar to play domestic event
by AFP

Player:Shoaib Akhtar
Event:Royal Bank of Scotland Twenty-20 Cup (2007/08) 2008/09

DateLine: 24th September 2008


Pakistan cricket authorities said Tuesday that controversial paceman Shoaib Akhtar can play in a domestic cricket tournament -- just one week after barring him from the same event.


The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Akhtar can play in a Twenty20 event without paying a 90,000-dollar fine that he owes from an earlier disciplinary breach, contradicting an earlier statement from a PCB legal adviser.


The 33-year-old paceman was banned for five years in April for criticising the PCB's failure to award him a central contract. It was later reduced by an appeals commission to 18 months but the commission also imposed the fine.


Lahore High court suspended the ban in July but upheld the fine.


"We never barred him from playing the domestic event," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi told AFP.


Akhtar was not initially included in any of the 13 teams due to compete for the national T20 title from October 4-8 after PCB legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said last Tuesday that Akthar could not play.


But his name was included recently in the Islamabad team for the event, which will serve as selection test for a four-nation event in Canada.


Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Canada are competing in the event, which will be held in Toronto from October 10-13.


The PCB last month included Akhtar in a 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy, but two days later the PCB changed its stance and said Akhtar could only play if he paid the fine.


The trophy was, however, postponed for 12 months over security fears.


Akhtar returned home early Tuesday after playing two first-class matches for Surrey in the English county season. He managed just one wicket in two matches and failed to help Surrey avoid relegation to Division Two.


Akhtar said he will play in the domestic event.


"I am disappointed on not getting the number of wickets I wished but I have just returned from fitness problems so it will take some time to gain full rhythm," he said.


"I will play in the domestic T20 event to prove my fitness and want to play for Pakistan as soon as possible," said Akhtar, whose last match for Pakistan was the third Test against India at Bangalore in December last year.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)


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