Lahore's high court has deferred making a decision on whether Shoaib Akhtar has to pay a fine of Rs 7 million (approx US$105,000) to the Pakistan Cricket Board. The hearing has now been set for October 3 and uncertainty remains over whether he will be able to play in the opening round of Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament.
The PCB had sought a ruling from the court on whether Shoaib was eligible to play domestic and international cricket without paying the fine. The board hit Shoaib, 33, with the punishment last month after he criticised the PCB over its failure to award him a central contract. He was initially banned by the PCB for five years, but the sentence was subsequently suspended by the court.
"Since Akhtar's lawyer was not in the court today, the judge has postponed the hearing," PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi told reporters after the short hearing. "Early October was the earliest possible date that the judge could give."
Shoaib, who has just finished an unsuccessful two-match stint with Surrey in England, is due to turn out for Islamabad Leopards in Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament, which begins in Lahore on 4 October. The board maintains that if the dispute over the fine is not settled when the court next meets then he will not be able to play.