Sarfraz Nawaz, the former Pakistan fast bowler, has criticised the PCB-appointed appellate tribunal for reducing Shoaib Akhtar's five-year ban to 18 months and imposing a fine of Rs 7 million (approximately US$105,000), instead of scrapping the punishment altogether.
"I call the ban reduction unjust, and it smacks of the partiality of the Pakistan Cricket Board, which is hell bent on not allowing Shoaib to play," Sarfraz said. "Shoaib must challenge the ban reduction in the High Court or Supreme Court."
Sarfraz especially found fault with Justice (retd) Aftab Farrukh, the chairman of the tribunal. "The tribunal head, on record, gave his views on Shoaib, saying he was indisciplined and caused a lot of harm to the team. How can he be partial and how can he give his comments about a person whose appeal he was hearing?"
Referring to tribunal's decision to suspend Shoaib's ban for a month, enabling his participation in the IPL, Sarfraz said: "Government officials were involved in the case and, on their interference, Shoaib was allowed to play in a domestic event in India.
"It sounds strange that a player is allowed to play in India and not for Pakistan. How can you do that? Shoaib has three to four years of cricket left in him and should be used to help build the team."
The PCB, had, on April 1, banned Shoaib from playing cricket, for and in Pakistan, for violating the players' code of conduct by publicly criticising the PCB and various policies. Shoaib appealed against the ban, claiming he was being "victimised." Shoaib's ban took into account that he was already on two years' probation for hitting Mohammad Asif with a bat before the start of the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007. That offence saw him fined 3.4 million rupees ($52,000 dollars) and banned for 13 matches.