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Akhtar to play for Pakistan in Canada

cricket Updated: Oct 08, 2008 14:15 IST
AP
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Shoaib Akhtar will join the Pakistan team when it leaves for Canada late on Wednesday after a Lahore court again postponed a decision on whether the bowler must pay an outstanding fine to be eligible for domestic or international cricket.

"The judge was very busy today and he has given a new date," Pakistan Cricket Board lawyer Talib Rivi said in the eastern city of Lahore. "As far as I know, the PCB has allowed Akhtar to play international cricket in the national interest." The PCB had sought a ruling from Lahore High Court judge Sayed Zahid Hussain on whether Akhtar was eligible to play in, or for, Pakistan without paying a 7 million Pakistan rupee ($89,000) fine. The court's ruling has been postponed to Oct 17. Akhtar guided his team, the Islamabad Leopards, into the semifinals of a national Twenty20 tournament on Tuesday after the cricket board dropped its opposition to the paceman playing in the domestic tournament.

Akhtar's overall performance in the tournament prompted selection to the 15-member squad for a four-nation Twenty20 tournament that begins in Toronto, Canada from Friday.

Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Canada are the other teams in the tournament that runs through Oct. 13.

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.

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