Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan fast bowler, has refused to respond to the notice sent by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), asking him to explain his recent critical statements in the media. Shoaib said the board had no right to question him as he was not a centrally contracted player.
"I am not contracted to them," Shoaib told reporters after the Pentangular Cup match between Federal Areas and Punjab at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "So I am not bound to respond to their notice. How can they seek any explanation from me?
"They can send me as many notices as they want but I know my rights and when I am not contracted to them I am not going to answer them."
Shoaib was overlooked for a central contract and instead offered a retainership, which he refused, insisting he didn't need money to play for Pakistan. He then criticised the board's policy on handing out contracts, accusing them of double standards after an unnamed inexperienced player who had played little cricket in the last six months was retained in the top category of contracts. He still has until February 18 to respond to the notice.
A failure to respond, or a conclusion that he has criticized the board could result in a life ban, as Shoaib is currently serving two-year probation periof after his altercation with Mohammad Asif during the ICC World Twenty20 in August in South Africa. Aside from a 13-match ban and a massive monetary fine, Shoaib was warned by the board that any further indiscretions could end his playing career.
He also dismissed the PCB's statement that he needed to sign the retainership to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in order to take part in the Indian Premier League starting in April. "Why do I need an NOC from them," he asked. "I have no contract with them. So why this NOC condition and secondly this is a matter between me and the IPL and not the board."
As a result of this, there has also been increased speculation linking Shoaib to the Indian Cricket League (ICL), one not recognised by cricket boards across the world. He was said to be one of the Pakistan players approached last year, though he turned it down at the time. If he does join the ICL, he will subsequently be barred from representing Pakistan again, as per board policy.