Disgruntled Akhtar returns home after expulsion

Published: Saturday, September 8, 2007, 17:52 [IST]
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Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar returned home Saturday after being expelled from the inaugural Twenty20 championship following a spat with teammate Mohammad Asif in South Africa.

The 32-year-old struck his new-ball partner Asif with a bat during a practice session in Johannesburg on Thursday, prompting the team's management to sent him back.

The incident has cast doubt over his the future of his career, which has been hit by controversy and injuries.

"I will address a press conference in the evening and will brief (on) why the incident happened," said Akhtar on his arrival in Lahore.

Akhtar earlier apologised for his acts.

"I am human and lost my temper. I am sorry for what happened and have apologised to Asif," Akhtar told AFP on Friday.

Pakistan Cricket Board director of operations Zakir Khan said Akhtar's replacement would be ready in time for Pakistan's opening match against Scotland at Durban on Wednesday.

"PCB has already requested the International Cricket Council to replace Akhtar with uncapped all-rounder Sohail Tanveer," he said.

Another official, Shafqat Naghmi, said Akhtar would face a disciplinary committee hearing very soon.

"Akhtar is suspended indefinitely until a disciplinary committee meeting. He is also issued a notice to explain his comments against a doping tribunal," said Naghmi.

Akhtar last week criticised a PCB doping tribunal that banned him for two years and Asif for one year after they tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in October last year.

The bans were lifted on appeals, but Akhtar and Asif both missed the 50-over World Cup held in the Caribbean earlier this year.

Akhtar was also on a six-week probation after he left a training camp in Karachi without informing team manager Talat Ali last month. He was fined 300,000 rupees (5,000 US dollars), which was later suspended on appeal.

The latest breach, however, renewed the case, and he is likely to face heavy fines and punishment.

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