Shoaib accuses PCB of victimisation
Banned fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has accused Pakistan Cricket Board of covering up acts of indiscipline by other players and personally victimising him by imposing a five-year ban.
Akhtar was vocal before the Senate Standing Committee on Sports and Culture on Monday in Islamabad and accused the Board of having a separate policy for him and another for the other players.
"I know of instances where established and reputed players have broken rules and been indisciplined. But the captain and manager have covered up their issues. If I even go to a nightclub, it becomes an issue," he said.
The committee held a hearing into the ban imposed on Akhtar earlier this month for repeated violations of the players' code of conduct and a two year probation.
The controversial fast bowler has lodged an appeal against the ban and an appellate tribunal headed by a former judge of the High Court is due to hold its first hearing on Thursday.
Senator Enver Baig of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians said he had no doubt Akhtar was being victimised and the ban was not justified.
"But the committee members feel that since the ban is under review by the appellate tribunal, we should wait for its decision. On April 26 we will have another meeting to discuss Pakistan cricket affairs," he said.
Baig confirmed that Akhtar was very vocal before the committee and made some strong points. "He pointed out that he and Mohammad Asif had both tested positive for a banned substance in 2006 but the punishments for them were different. He also pointed out that Asif and Umar Gul were injured but still got central contracts while he was ignored," Baig said.
Akhtar told reporters after the hearing that he was confident that the appellate tribunal would lift the ban. "I have committed no crime nor have I committed any serious offence. This five-year ban is not justified at all. I will continue to fight it," he said.
Baig confirmed that PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf had told the committee that Akhtar was warned several times about his behaviour but did not mend his ways.
"Ashraf said the ban came after several warnings to the fast bowler. He also told the committee he would rather resign than make any compromises on discipline for any player," Baig stated.