Shoaib Akhtar to fight five-year ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shoaib Akhtar to fight five-year ban

02/04/2008 06:16:32 AM Comments (0)

Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar said he was ready to take court action to fight a five-year ban imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old fast bowler, punished because of repeated disciplinary violations, described the long ban as harsh and unjustified.

The most recent violation came when Akhtar criticised PCB policies after being dropped from the list of central contracts in January.

"This ban comes as a shock because I had apologised for my statements and actions to the disciplinary committee (in Rawalpindi) today," the paceman told reporters. "I will go to court if I have to and fight this ban.

"I have always given 100 per cent for the national team. How can they accuse me of being a damaging influence on the team?"

PCB chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf told a news conference that Akhtar, whose international career will almost certainly be over unless he gets the ban overturned, had the right of appeal.

Ashraf also said the board had lost confidence in the player.

The fast bowler known as the 'Rawalpindi Express' escaped a doping ban in December 2006 when he appealed against a two-year suspension imposed on him after he tested positive for a banned substance before the Champions Trophy in India the same year.

Akhtar, who has appeared in 46 tests and was ranked among the fastest bowlers of the modern era, said playing for Pakistan meant everything to him.

"I bowled with a high fever during the recent Test series in India," he said. "I did it for the team.

"I have had problems here and there but I have always respected my seniors and got along well with my juniors.

"For me, nothing is more important than playing for Pakistan. It is hard to bear with this stigma attached to me."

In October, Akhtar was put on a two-year probation and banned for 13 international matches for four breaches of discipline including striking team mate Mohammad Asif with a bat before the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

Hanif Abbasi, a newly-elected member of parliament, also said Akhtar's five-year ban was unjustified.

"The people who have banned him will not stay (in power) for long with the new government in," said Abbasi.

"This issue will be discussed in parliament."

Meanwhile, former Pakistan captains Imran Khan and Javed Miandad have slammed the country's cricket board for handing fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar a five-year ban on disciplinary grounds.

"It is totally unacceptable. This ban it literally ends his career. The board is destroying Pakistan cricket by banning players," Imran told the Express television channel on Tuesday.

Imran also criticised the board for banning the players who had signed up to the rebel Indian Cricket League.

"These bans are weakening Pakistan cricket. A fine would have been fine for Shoaib. He has not committed a crime," he said.

"The board must keep in mind that we also need to win matches and keep our pride in international cricket."

Miandad said he was stunned by severity of the punishment.

"It came as a shock to me because the board has always had a reputation of being soft on disciplinary issues. And now this matter was not that serious that they try to end his career," he told Reuters.

Miandad added that if Shoaib challenged the ban in court, it would harm Pakistan cricket.

"We will become a joke. If they wanted to discipline him they should have done it much before now like this," he said.

Former batsman Zaheer Abbas said Aktar's ban would weaken the team.

"He had some two years of cricket left in him and we should have taken advantage of him while maintaining discipline," he said.

"I don't know what these people are trying to do. The cricketers are not schoolboys to be treated like this. Shoaib committed no big crime."

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