PCB provides Shoaib a surprise breather

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Lahore, Oct 6 (UNI) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has given some respite to maverick pacer Shoaib Akhtar after it surprisingly excluded the main allegation of hitting fellow pacer Mohammad Asif with a bat in South Africa from their chargesheet.

Shoaib's lawyer, Bilal Mintoo and the PCB's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Shafqat Naghmi both, admitted that the bat-hitting incident was ommitted from the chargesheet submitted by the board's disciplinary committe yesterday, 'The Dawn' reported.

''There are three charges which Shoaib has to defend -- the first one is: why the bowler played a charity match for England player Chris Lewis on August 8 without the PCB permission, the second and third relate to the bowler's open criticism in the press after reaching Lahore from South Africa, and his criticism of the PCB anti-doping committee's decision on his two-year suspension,'' Mr Mintoo said.

The lawyer further explained that under this circumstances the 32-year-old seamer could only be banned for the allegation of playing a match without the PCB permission as taking part in a charity match was different from participating in a game for commercial purposes. However for the remaining two charges, a fine could only be imposed on him.

Mr Mintoo also questioned the nation's cricket Board way of handling the issue, saying if the bowler was charged with playing a charity match two months back, then why the national selectors had included him in Twenty20 World Cup side.

''If the PCB set up the inquiry to announce further punishment for Shoaib then under which rule Shoaib missed the World Twenty20 matches,'' he questioned.

Interestingly, the PCB COO Naghmi was caught on the backfoot when inquired about the ommission, saying earlier the disciplinary committee had considered all these points in its meeting after which it decided to exclude the primary charge from the charge sheet.

''The manager, in his report, has penalised Shoaib for five matches and as the bowler had missed matches of the World Twenty20, we can't announce double punishment in one case,'' Naghmi said.

UNI

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