Former Test cricketer and once Akhtar's coach, Sarfaraz Nawaz yesterday said, ''disappointing is no word to describe Akhtar's ban, I would call it pathetic and request the new political government to sack Nasim Ashraf-led Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).'' Earlier yesterday, the PCB announced a five-year ban on Akhtar for repeated violations of discipline and said the temperamental fast bowler will not play for Pakistan during this period.
Akhtar was already on a two-year probation period for hitting a teammate with a bat.
Describing Akhtar as the only match-winner in the team, Nawaz said he would urge new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other coalition leaders to take ''a serious notice of this unjust ban.'' Nawaz, who represented Pakistan in 55 tests, has predicted that the board members will be expelled from their job in next few days.
''I have come to know that this Pakistan Cricket Board set up, which has a personal vendetta against the talented bowler, will be removed and the high-ups have also decided on who will take over,'' he said.
Former captain Rashid Latif also came in support of Akhtar and termed the ban ''damaging for Pakistan cricket,'' but was of the view that the ban will be lifted in two months time.
''Banning Akhtar will harm Pakistan cricket,'' said Latif and added ''the team would be significantly weaker as a result.'' ''Pakistan Cricket Board should have supported Akhtar more because there have been characters like Akhtar - there was John McEnroe in tennis and our own Aamir Sohail - who were temperamental yet talented and gave sports a lot to cheer,'' he pointed out.