Banned Akhtar protests 'victimisation' by PC

Published: Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 16:07 [IST]
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Islamabad: Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said Wednesday that he had been "victimised" by the country's cricket authorities after they banned him for five years for disciplinary problems.

Akhtar also urged fans to remain calm and not to damage public property after several dozen supporters gathered in the capital to protest Wednesday, a day after the ban was announced.

"I have been victimised, I have been pinpoint targeted. I should be told what I did and when I violated discipline," the maverick paceman told a news conference in Islamabad.

"I will definitely be filing the appeal in the next two days and will follow the PCB procedure. I feel I have been personally victimised by the board. If I have committed any violation of discipline I should be told about it," Shoaib said.

"I will not go down without a fight. If the board rejects my appeal I will go to the High Court and Supreme Court to get justice," he told a news conference. said the 32-year-old, who has vowed to fight the ban in court.

Akhtar was hauled before a Pakistan Cricket Board disciplinary panel after publicly slamming the board for refusing to award him a central contract in January.

The board said it took the harsh step of a five-year ban, effectively ending his international career, because he was on two years' probation for hitting teammate Mohammad Asif with a bat in October.

Akhtar, who has twice hit the coveted 100 mile-per-hour (161 kilometres) mark, has had a controversial career plagued by injuries, discipline problems and a doping scandal in 2007.

He addressed his fans in this cricket-obsessed nation, adding: "I appeal to people not to damage public property and to remain calm. I will appeal to higher authorities, I will contest the ban."


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