Islamabad: A key member of a Pakistani senate committee on sports has said a five-year ban of controversial paceman Shoaib Akhtar was unjustified.
"The committee called up officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Akhtar and the meeting lasted for three hours and we feel that some people have settled their scores by banning Akhtar," Anver Beg, a member of the committee, told reporters on Monday.
A disciplinary committee of the PCB banned Akhtar for five years on charges of violating a players code of conduct earlier this month.
The committee charged Akhtar for publicly criticising the PCB after the fast bowler was dropped from a list of 15 players awarded annual central contracts in January this year.
Akhtar has appealed against the ban, which a three-member committee will hear later this week.
The 32-year-old paceman was on a two-year probation for an earlier offence when he hit teammate Mohammad Asif with a bat just a few days before the start of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in September last year.
He was then banned for 13 international matches and fined 3.4 million rupees (52,000 dollars).
"We have analysed the charges on Akhtar and criticising the PCB was not as big a crime that he was banned for five years," said Beg, who also demanded the new government sack incumbent PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf.
"The cricket administration needs a revamp because they are not professionals and they have damaged Pakistan cricket," said Beg, a member of Pakistan Peoples Party, which leads the coalition government.
Akhtar later told reporters he hopes to get justice.
"I hope that the appellate committee do justice on my appeal and the Senate committee also takes up the matter further in my support," said Akhtar.