Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan fast bowler banned by his national board for five years, says he was approached by individuals to underperform during the team's tour to India and South Africa, offers which he refused. The disclosure, in which he does not mention names, dates or specific incidents, comes a day after he was handed a five-year ban on playing for and in Pakistan.
"I have rejected many offers to underperform. It happened in Johannesburg and India but I never accepted them as I can't betray my country," Shoaib said in an interview to Geo TV. "And what do I get in return - a five-year ban the example of which you don't get anywhere in the cricket world. Even players who were fined and found involved in match-fixing issues didn't get such bans."
Shoaib has, however, been permitted by the PCB to play in the Indian Premier League, which starts later this month. "If I had been so indisciplined and had an attitude problem as the Pakistan board claims do you think that Shahrukh Khan or [Sourav] Ganguly would want me to play for their team in the IPL," Shoaib said. He also said he had turned down an offer from the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League. "I could have gone to the ICL right away but I didn't because I love my country and I can't think about not playing for the national team."