Shoaib Akhtar, whose five-year ban was reduced to 18 months, along with a fine of Rs 7 million (approx US$105,000) by an appellate tribunal, has said he is not happy with the decision and will review the judgement with his lawyer before deciding whether to appeal.
"Shoaib feels the 18-month ban is still very harsh and unjustified given the reasons for his being banned. We will either appeal in the High Court or perhaps even before the tribunal," Abid Hasan Minto, Shoaib's legal counsel, told PTI. "We have to first go through the full judgment of the tribunal in which it reduced his ban from five years to 18 months and fined him seven million rupees. After this we will decide where to appeal but in principle we have decided to appeal."
Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan board chairman, said Shoaib was free to appeal in court. "That is his decision to make," Ashraf said. "The tribunal's verdict has nothing to do with the PCB. I can't overturn the reduced ban on him. The decision made by Justice Aftab Farrukh is final and it can only be challenged in the court."
Meanwhile Shoaib's Indian Premier League franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders, is not worried about the 18-month ban that could force him out of next year's IPL. "Look, he was released in a special dispension for one month in the last IPL," Joy Bhattacharya, the chief executive of the franchise, told the Pakistan daily News. "For the next edition, there's still 10 months left. There's no point discussing about it now. Things can change by that time."
Farrukh, who headed the three-man tribunal, had justified the verdict by saying they had taken Shoaib's past record in to consideration along with the fact that he had publicly apologised for his behaviour. The tribunal recommended that Shoaib be given proper counselling by the board.