'Akhtar's five-year ban to be reduced' | cricket | Hindustan Times
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'Akhtar's five-year ban to be reduced'

Sources say that Akhtar is using his contacts in the political circles to get the 5-yr ban reduced to much lesser one.

cricket Updated: May 16, 2008 18:22 IST

After getting a one month suspension of his five-year ban through political intervention, maverick pacer Shoaib Akhtar may be handed a lesser punishment by the appellate tribunal which would resume hearing on his appeal on June 4, according to highly-placed sources.

Sources told PTI that Akhtar had very intelligently used his contacts in the political circles to first get the PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf withdraw his 220 million rupees defamation suit against him and was now also working to get the five-year ban reduced to much lesser one.

"The fact that one of the tribunal members, Salman Taseer, has been appointed to the powerful position of Governor of Punjab is a clear indication that lady luck is now smiling on Shoaib," a source told PTI.

"Taseer is known to be very close to Shoaib who is a regular at his parties and functions and obviously his elevation to a powerful position will help the fast bowler even if he remains on the tribunal or decides to step down because of his new responsibilities," the source claimed.

Akhtar, who helped Kolkata win against Delhi with a dream spell of four wickets in the IPL, will have to face regular hearings of the appellate tribunal when he returns home but sources say it would be a mere formality before awarding a softer penalty by the tribunal.

"What is going to happen is that when the appellate tribunal resumes hearing on June 4, Shoaib will appear before it again and make another apology which would be repeated in front of the media which would then lead to the dropping of the long term ban on him and award softer penalties," the source said.