What Justice Aftab Farukh, heading the three-man tribunal that heard Shoaib Akhtar’s appeal on his five-year ban for indiscipline, managed is something the speedster has been himself trying to do for years now: put an end to his career.
<b1>The decision to uphold the ban means that we've probably seen the last of Shoaib in international cricket — the appeal will be revisited in June and with Pakistan cricket it’s never easy to say how things will go. At the moment, though, it looks like the Rawalpindi Express has made its last journey.
Though he is permitted to play outside Pakistan, it’s not as though people are welcoming him with open arms. “As of now, nothing has changed in our stance,” an Indian Premier League (IPL) official told Hindustan Times. Earlier, IPL had decided not to allow Shoaib to play in order to uphold international disciplinary standards. The Kolkata team, which successfully bid Rs 1.7 crore for Shoaib, said they would abide by whatever decision the IPL governing council took.
Ironically, the rival Indian Cricket League, an ideal place for Shoaib to go as it’s full of banned players anyhow, have said they are not in talks with Shoaib.