Pakistan board bans Shoaib Akhtar

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Lahore, April 1: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) banned ill-tempered Shoaib Akhtar for five years from all forms of the sport after the disciplinary Committee found the temperamental paceman guilty of violating PCB coade of conduct.

The charges were laid after the controversial fast bowler criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for double standards in awarding the central contracts in January this year.The 32-year-old Akhtar was on a two-year probation for hitting a teammate with a bat."The board has lost confidence in Shoaib Akhtar and therefore felt that his presence in the field was damaging to the Pakistan team, for Pakistan players and for the image of Pakistan cricket," PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said.

However the PCB chief said that Akhtar would still be able to play for other teams around the world, clearing the fast bowler to play for the lucrative Indian Premier League next month.

Ashraf added that it was a “sad day for me and for Shoaib Akhtar. He is such a talented player."

The PCB chairman said Akhtar had the right to appeal the decision.

Kaneria reprimanded: Spinner Danish Kaneria, who also faced a charge of criticising the PCB, was severely reprimanded, Ashraf said.

Kaneria had criticised his demotion from category “B" to “C" in the central contract in an online column. He later blamed a newspaper for publishing his column out of context.

“Since this was Kaneria's first offense on discipline, he has been severely reprimanded and barred from issuing any press statements," Ashraf said.

In October last year, Akhtar was fined 3.4 million rupees (52,000 dollars) and banned for 13 matches for hitting fellow paceman Mohammad Asif with a bat, just days before the start of the Twenty20 World Championships.

He was put on probation for two years following the incident.

Akhtar was dropped from Pakistan's list of 15 contracted players in January after the paceman had another disappointing year, plagued by injures and discipline problems.

Instead, Akhtar was offered a special retainer deal, which he refused to sign.

Akhtar played the last of his 46 Tests against India at Bangalore in December 2007 before breaking down due to back trouble.

He was blamed for Pakistan's 1-0 series loss to the archrivals and was not played in the team's one-day series against Zimbabwe in February this year.

Akhtar was also left out of a 16-man squad announced for next month's first two one-day internationals against Bangladesh.

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