Thatscricket - News - ~~I~~ll return to international cricket~~

Published: Friday, February 16, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi: Banned Pakistani pace bowler Ata-ur-Rehman said on Friday he is set to appear in the first-class Patrons' Trophy tournament this year with the goal of returning to international cricket."I am fit to play first-class cricket with the aim to stage a come back in international cricket because I am sure my ban will be overturned," Rehman said.Rehman was speaking for the first time since he was banished for life from the highest level of the game for perjury during a match-fixing inquiry last year."The ban on me is totally unjust and I will fight it," said Rehman, who is free to play first-class cricket.Former Pakistan captain Salim Malik, who was also banned for life, has sought permission to play in Pakistan's main first-class tournament starting from February 20.Rehman, 26, who played the last of his 13 Tests in 1996, changed his statements in all three testimonies before Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum's inquiry.His first written affidavit said former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram paid him 300,000 rupees (5,000 dollars) to bowl badly in a One-day match against New Zealand in 1994.Rehman retracted the statement in his second appearance before the inquiry while his third statement was recorded in camera. "I intend to appeal against the ban very soon and have been in touch with my counsel," he said.Rehman has been playing in the Lancashire League for Blackburn Northern since 1998. He took 90 wickets and scored 900 runs last year, as well as passing level-one coaching exams."If I'm not able to play for Pakistan again I'll serve my country through coaching," he said. Rehman said he was planning to set up a cricket academy in the eastern city of Lahore.Copyright AFP 2000

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