Akhtar to play domestic Twenty20 tournament

Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 19:16 [IST]
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AkhtarIslamabad: PCB dropped its opposition Tuesday to speedstar Shoaib Akhtar playing in next month's domestic Twenty20 tournament.

The PCB had sought a ruling from Lahore High Court judge on whether Akhtar was eligible to play in, or for, Pakistan without paying an outstanding fine of 7 million Pakistan rupees.

"We don't want to mix legal and cricketing issues and Akhtar can play in the Twenty20 tournament from October 4," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

The Lahore High Court on Monday deferred making a decision on Akhtar's pending fine until Oct. 3 - a day before the Twenty20 tournament begins in Lahore. Akhtar will represent the Islamabad Leopards team in the tournament.

"We sought an advice from the (court) because we wanted to finish this pending issue of Akhtar's fine as quickly as possible," Naghmi said.

Akhtar was fined and handed a five-year ban in April by a PCB tribunal for a disciplinary breach after he criticized the Pakistan selectors. The ban was later reduced to 18 months by another tribunal, but a heavy fine was recommended.

The Lahore High Court in July suspended Akhtar's 18-month ban, but did not give any ruling against the financial penalty.

PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi has maintained that Akhtar was legally obliged to pay the fine before representing Pakistan or playing in domestic cricket.

Selectors will closely watch player performances in the domestic Twenty20 competition ahead of choosing the Pakistan squad to travel to Toronto, Canada for an international Twenty20 tournament starting Oct. 10.


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