Karachi: Suspended Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar has signed a lucrative deal with an Indian cricket league, saying Pakistan officials have agreed to let him play.
"After I received permission from the Pakistan Cricket Board, I have signed a contract to play for the Indian Premier League and it will be an honour to play in India," Akhtar told AFP.
The paceman was last week banned for 13 international matches and fined 3.4 million rupees (US$56,000) primarily for hitting a teammate with a bat.
Akhtar faced five indiscipline charges, including that he struck fellow fast bowler Mohammad Asif on the thigh after team practice in Johannesburg ahead of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup last month.
Akhtar will complete his ban later this month and be available to play for Pakistan in the last one-dayer against South Africa in Karachi on October 29.
The "Rawalpindi Express" will also be available for selection for Pakistan's tour to India next month.
Akhtar said he looked forward to playing in India where cricket officials have set up the IPL to rival the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), which is being bankrolled by India's largest media group.
"My goal is to play for Pakistan and help them win in India. That comes first and after that it will be exciting to play in the league," he said.
He did not give details of his IPL contract.
The IPL -- sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) - is a Twenty20 competition scheduled to be launched next April.
Offering three million dollars in prize money, it will feature eight franchises participating in a 56-game season.
Akhtar was offered a contract to play for the ICL, which he declined after Pakistan officials warned that any player signing with the rebel league would be ineligible to represent the national team.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has backed the IPL and Friday announced they have allowed six players to take part if they wanted.
Captain Shoaib Malik, star batsmen Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul Haq, all-rounder Shahid Afridi and paceman Asif were the players named.
Both Yousuf and Inzamam had also signed contracts with the rogue ICL. Yousuf cancelled it two weeks ago and has been served a legal notice by the ICL.
"PCB will give legal support to Yousuf and as far as I know Inzamam will also sign for IPL," PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said last week.
Inzamam played his last Test Friday before retiring from the Pakistan team.