The Pakistan Cricket Board has constituted a three-man appellate tribunal to look into Shoaib Akhtar's appeal against the five-year ban he was handed by the board last week.
As is the norm, the tribunal is headed by a retired justice, Aftab Farrukh, who is a former judge of the Lahore High Court. The panel also includes former Test cricketer Haseeb Ahsan and Salman Taseer, an entrepreneur and former government minister. Proceedings on the matter will begin with immediate effect. Coincidentally, Ahsan was also a member of the last appellate tribunal which Shoaib had to face. Then, in November 2006, the tribunal had overturned a two-year ban on Shoaib and Mohammad Asif after the pair tested positive for steroids
"The proceedings will begin as early as tomorrow," Mansoor Suhael, PCB spokesman said. "There is no timeframe on the tribunal and it will take its natural course."
Shoaib was handed the ban for a disciplinary breach of the players' code of conduct, having publicly criticised various board policies after he was overlooked for a central contract in January. The board's disciplinary committee took into account various past transgressions when handing him the ban, one which effectively ends his career and which has subsequently come in for widespread criticism.
The matter has since escalated in to a very public war of words between Shoaib and Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the PCB. The former has been slapped with a lawsuit by the chairman for defamatory comments he made in a string of TV appearances after the ban was announced. Shoaib is also facing questioning from the ICC over separate comments that he was offered money to under-perform in South Africa and India. Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan are also considering legal action, after a local TV host claimed that Shoaib told him the pair had offered him money to under-perform as well.