Disciplinary charges and penalties against Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar were recently dropped after the enigmatic speedster threatened to join the Indian Cricket League (ICL), sources revealed in Karachi.
Shoaib had left a training camp here last month without informing the manager even though the pacer claimed he had informed captain Shoaib Malik.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) subsequently fined him approximately USD 5000 and docked points from his central contract. Shoaib appealed against the punishment and eventually a PCB appeal committee upheld his plea.
A well-placed source said that it was only after the pacer had threatened to join ICL that the committee decided to drop the charges against him.
The source also revealed that some other players are also been creating pressure on the Board, claiming they have multi-million dollar offers from the rebel Indian league.
Shoaib Akhtar has already claimed that he had rejected an increased offer of close to 2 million dollars to sign for three years in the league, while pacer Mohammad Asif put his offer figure at around 1.3 million dollars with all-rounder Shahid Afridi also quoting similar figures. Most of these, however, are exaggerated, the source said.
"The figures being quoted some Pakistani cricketers are inflated to a big extent. What I know is that approaches were made to some players to play in the league but no definite offers," the source said.
"The highest fee is being paid to former West Indian skipper, Brian Lara followed by Inzamam who is getting around 250,000 dollars for a season," he said.
He also disclosed that it was unrealistic to expect the ICL organisers and their main backer, Zee Telefilms, to pay such huge amounts to sign players.
"Come on, if Shoaib Akhtar claims something one can understand that. But realistically speaking, how famous is Asif or how big a crowd or sponsorship puller is he that he should be made such handsome offers?" he asked.
There are also many in Pakistan cricket who believe that some players have tried to take advantage of the ICL-phobia which has gripped the Pakistan Cricket Board after the defection of four players -- Mohd Yusuf, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq and Imran Farhat.
"Some players are now taking advantage and quoting figures and talking about compensation and patriotism to put pressure on the authorities. One result of this pressure we nave already seen when the board announced bonus cash for the players who have signed the central contracts," a board official, who didn't want to be named, said.