Pakistan's Akhtar charged with five counts of misconduct

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KARACHI, Oct 2 (Reuters) Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar will appear before a disciplinary committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) later this week charged with five counts of misconduct.

The rebellious fast bowler was sent home from South Africa last month for brawling with team mate Mohammad Asif just before the Twenty20 World Cup.

Although most of the charges relate to the fight, Akhtar is also being brought to book over several other violations of the players' code of conduct.

''What happened in South Africa is a serious matter and no one can be given the license to behave like this,'' Pakistan manager, Talat Ali told Reuters on Tuesday.

Ali is one of the witnesses who have been asked to appear before the three-member disciplinary committee on Oct. 6 to give evidence against Akhtar, who in his 43 tests career has had several run-ins with the PCB over disciplinary issues.

Ali said an immediate hearing was held in South Africa during which Shoaib had admitted his mistake and apologised for hitting Asif with a bat. ''After that we sent him home,'' Ali said.

The five charges against Akhtar involve rowing with Asif, violating the players' code of conduct while on a six-week probation period, playing a charity match in England without the PCB's consent, making ''serious and unsubstantiated'' allegations against team mate Shahid Afridi and holding an unauthorised news conference after being sent home.

During that conference, Akhtar had accused Afridi of instigating the row with Asif.

A Board official said Shoaib would be treated fairly and given a chance to reply to all the charges.

''This is not a witch hunt against him but at the same time we are going to maintain our zero tolerance policy on indiscipline,'' Shafqat Naghmi, chief executive of the board said.

Aside from Akhtar, Asif and Afridi, other players will be called as witnesses if required, he added.

The PCB has said the committee will make its ruling on October 8, which will also be the opening day of the second test against South Africa in Lahore.

Akhtar escaped a 300,000-rupee fine in August after he left a national training camp in Karachi without informing the team manager.

He appealed against the decision, saying he had told captain, Shoaib Malik about his plans.

Reuters BJR HT/GC2032

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