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Malik says ban overturn vindicates stance

cricket Updated: May 29, 2010 20:08 IST

AFP
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Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik expressed relief on Saturday over the lifting of a one-year ban following Pakistan's disastrous tour of Australia.

The ban and a fine were imposed in March on the recommendations of a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) committee, which was set up to investigate on and off field problems on the tour between December-February.

But a one-man arbitrator, Justice (retired) Irfan Qadir, lifted the ban on Saturday and halved the two million rupee (23,500 dollars) fine.

"I am very happy that with the blessings of Allah my stand has been vindicated and all the baseless charges and allegations have been quashed," Malik, 28, said in a statement.

"It's a sort of new life for me and I am very happy," said Malik, whose career derailed after he was sacked as captain in January last year.

Pakistan lost all three Tests, five one-days and a Twenty20 match on the tour, which was also marred by off-field disciplinary problems.

The decision means Malik will be available to play for Pakistan in next month's Asia Cup and the following tour of England. Malik was named in a 35-man probable list for the twin tours last week.

"As always, my commitment for the country and for my team continues to be 100 per cent," he added.

"I look forward to focusing purely on my game and will be delighted to serve my country in whatever capacity my team needs me, as and when required.

"I thank my family, fans, supporters and the media for standing by me during a difficult period in my career."

PCB legal adviser Talib Rizvi said that the decision was not politically motivated.

"We (PCB) had watched Malik's attitude and conduct over the last three months and proposed that the ban should be lifted," Rizvi said.

"All the sanctions against the players were an attempt to discipline the players and not to stop them from playing. Malik is now free to be selected in any squad of the Pakistan team," Rizvi said.

Besides Malik, all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan was also banned for one year and fined two million rupees.

Former captain Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf were banned for an indefinite period because of "infighting which let the team down," while Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal were also heavily fined.

Except for Yousuf, who retired in protest over the ban, all six players appealed. The appeals of other players will be heard next month.