Shoaib Akhtar's chances of reviving his international cricket career by playing a Twenty20 tournament in Canada hinges on the outcome of a Lahore High Court (LHC) hearing on Oct 8 that will decide whether the fast bowler can play for Pakistan without paying a hefty fine imposed on him over repeated breaches of discipline.
Akhtar, who is itching to return to national duty after a gap of almost ten months, is fighting in the LHC a 7 million Pakistani rupees ($90,662) fine imposed on him by a court over several disciplinary breaches in April this year. The court was scheduled to hold a hearing over a writ filed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) against Akhtar for not paying up the fine Friday but had to postpone it because of the Eid holidays.
PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi said that chief justice of LHC Syed Zahid Hussain has fixed Oct 8 as new date for the hearing.
The PCB had filed a petition in the court for seeking guidance on whether Shoaib can play cricket in or for Pakistan without paying the fine.
The board has included Shoaib in the preliminary squad for the Toronto quadrangular to be played Oct 10-13.
Shoaib has not played for Pakistan since last December when he featured in the third Test against India in Bangalore. Since then he has been out of the national squad either due to injury or suspension.
Shoaib tried taking the first step toward his international comeback by playing in a couple of county games for Surrey this season. But he was unable to prove his form and fitness in those outings.
Pakistan is scheduled to leave for Toronto Oct 8 for the four-nation Twenty20 tournament that will also feature Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and hosts Canada.