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Shoaib Akhtar seeking BCCI help

Amid strong indications that the PCB may severely discipline him, the speedster has approached a top BCCI official to bail him out of the current situation.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Karachi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2008 12:52 PM IST

Amid strong indications that the Pakistan Cricket Board may severely discipline Shoaib Akhtar this time, the fast bowler is making all possible efforts, including approaching a top Indian cricket official to speak to the PCB Chief to bail him out of the current situation.

Having already been banned for 13 matches last year and fined 3.4 million rupees for having a brawl with teammate Mohammad Asif before the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, Shoaib is facing a situation where he could be banned for a long period and fined heavily again.

The governing body of the Board will meet on March 22 in Lahore to discuss recommendations of the disciplinary committee, currently hearing charges of misconduct and violation of the players Code of Conduct against Shoaib.

Sources said that besides charges of speaking publicly against the policies of the Board, Shoaib has also been charged with misconduct and spoiling team spirit in the 'Federal Areas' dressing room when he captained them in the first match of the Pentangular Cup last month in Lahore.

Shoaib was dropped from the Federal Areas team after going wicketless in the first match.

A Federal Areas official said the manager and coach had submitted a strong report on Shoaib's conduct to the Board and asked for action to be taken against him.

"Shoaib knows he is in a tight situation and even got a top Indian official who closely involved in the Indian Premier League to try to get a pardon for him from the PCB," one source confirmed.

The problem for the speedster is that he was put under a one-year probation period from last year when he was banned and warned any further violation of the Code of Conduct could result in an automatic life ban.

Sources said Shoaib had even been using his contacts with top political figures expected to be in the new government to get a pardon.

"So far he has not been successful and is also said to be unhappy with the response of the Indian official. More importantly he is now worried that if banned he might also not be allowed to play in the IPL which starts from April 18," one source disclosed.

"The interesting thing is Shoaib had already complained that the bidding amount quoted for him in the IPL auction was not as assured to him by the officials and that he went for a low price."

There are rumors that Shoaib has even met with the Indian Cricket League official Kapil Dev in Mumbai in recent days and his joining the rebel ICL is not a factor that can be completely ruled out.

Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, said the Board was expecting to take a decision on the disciplinary committee's recommendations at the governing body meeting but would not comment further.

"Since the board is the complainant I don't want to say anything more on this issue," Naghmi stated.

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