The tribunal hearing Shoaib Akhtar's appeal against the five-year ban imposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has put off its proceedings until June 14.
"The tribunal heard arguments from the lawyer of the PCB and lawyers of Akhtar, and the next hearing will be held on June 14," Justice (retd) Farrukh Aftab, the tribunal head, said. One of the three members of the tribunal, Salman Taseer, had withdrawn after he took over as the governor of Punjab province, while another member, former Test cricketer Haseeb Ahsan, could not attend due to illness. Naveed Chaudhry, a lawyer, was named as Taseer's replacement last week . Aftab said the proceeding would be put off while Chaudhry was briefed on the case.
The tribunal had earlier temporarily upheld the ban in April, but suspended it a few days later so that Shoaib could take part in the IPL. Shoaib had been barred only for playing in or for Pakistan, but the IPL refused to let him play unless the PCB sanction was overturned. He joined the Kolkata Knight Riders mid-way through the first season and dazzled in his first game, picking up four wickets in a sensational opening burst against the Delhi Daredevils. However, he soon picked up an injury and missed Kolkata's last three games due to a knee injury.
The Pakistan board issued the ban after Shoaib, who was not being offered a contract by the PCB, lashed out at domestic tournaments, pitches and the administration in general. He made the comments while on a two-year probation after hitting team-mate Mohammad Asif with a bat before the World Twenty20 last year.
Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, had also slapped a Rs 22 crore defamation suit (approx US$3.27 million) against Shoaib after he had alleged on a TV show that Ashraf had demanded a share of his salary from the IPL. However, the matter was closed after Shoaib retracted his statement and apologised to Ashraf, the PCB chairman, during the hearing of the tribunal.