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Shoaib was asked to under-perform

The Pakistan speedster says he was offered money to under-perform in matches in South Africa and India.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent, Karachi
UPDATED ON APR 03, 2008 01:53 PM IST

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said on Wednesday he was offered money to under-perform in matches in South Africa and India but rejected them for the sake of his country.

Shoaib, who was banned for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday for disciplinary reasons, said he was angry at the suspension because he had always remained committed to his country.

"This sort of ban has not been enforced anywhere on any cricketer," Shoaib said on a talk show on Geo Television.

"Not even those players who were investigated on match- fixing allegations got this sort of ban," he said. "Players who betrayed their country escaped without such punishment. Why am I being victimised?" he said.

Shoaib, who said he would appeal the ban this week, said he had always performed his best for Pakistan.

"I have rejected many offers in the past to under-perform. It happened in Johannesburg and in India but I never accepted them because I can't betray my country," he said.

Shoaib said he was living in a democratic country and had every right to air his views on domestic cricket or the central contracts.

He had criticised the PCB in January for his removal from the list of centrally contracted cricketers.

"They drop me from the contracts list. They force me to play on pitches on which batsman scores 300 in a day and yet one can't even complain," he said.

Shoaib said he had rejected million-dollar offers from the rebel Indian Cricket League because it was not recognised by the board.

"I am not going to accept this ban and will fight it to the end. Even if I have to retire from the game I will do it to pursue this case but I will not allow them to stigmatise me," he added.

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