Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, 32, has been banned for five years by a disciplinary committee of the PCB for violating the players' code of conduct. The ban extends to cricket for and in Pakistan but will leave him free to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins later this month.
Akhtar had appeared before a disciplinary committee in February after being charged with publicly criticising the Pakistan board over the retainership offered to him. Based on a formula devised by the board, taking into account players' performance 15 players were awarded contracts, but Shoaib was overlooked. He was, instead, demoted to a retainership, having been awarded a Category A contract last year.
"The board has lost confidence in Shoaib Akhtar and therefore felt that his presence in the field was damaging to the Pakistan team, for Pakistan players and for the image of Pakistan cricket," PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf told AFP. "The committee has recommended a five-year ban on Shoaib Akthar. He will be ineligible to play in Pakistan or to play for Pakistan anywhere else in the world. [It is] a sad day for me and for Shoaib Akhtar. He is such a talented player."
Shoaib 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, an offence for which he was fined 3.4 million rupees ($52,000 dollars) and banned for 13 matches, and faced the prospect of a life ban being handed out by the disciplinary committee. Ashraf added that Shoaib had the right to appeal against the decision.
Legspinner Danish Kaneria, also charged with criticising the PCB, was severely reprimanded. "Since this was Kaneria's first offence on discipline, he has been severely reprimanded and barred from issuing any press statements," Ashraf said.
In his column on bigstarcricket.com, Kaneria had said he felt he deserved more respect as an established senior player in the side and was not satisfied with the board's explanation of his demotion from category "B" to "C" in the central contracts.