'Pak Cricket board acts like a banana republic'

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Lahore, Apr 3: Disappointed over fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's ban by the PCB disciplinary committee, former skipper Imran Khan has demanded the new Pakistan government to sack the country's cricket board.

The PCB announced a five-year ban on Akhtar for repeated violations of discipline and said the temperamental fast bowler would not play for country during this period.''The tragic incident of banning Akhtar reflects how undemocratically cricket is run in this country and I think this is an ideal time for the new government to fix it,'' Khan said. Imran said President Pervez Musharraf, the PCB's patron, was responsible for selecting the chief of the board, Nasim Ashraf.

''Musharraf has made Pakistan a banana republic and his appointed chairman of the PCB has made the cricket board a sort of banana republic,'' said Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup title in 1992.

''Pakistan cricket is unique in the sense that the President of Pakistan appoints the cricket chief Since there is legitimacy in other countries they don't have such problems,'' he added.

''I demand the new government install a democratically-elected cricket chief as soon as possible,'' he said.

Khan said the ban imposed was unjust.

''Tell me how many players in world cricket have been banned for five years on discipline charges,'' Khan said, adding, ''Previous incidents of indiscipline should have been dealt with at the time instead of being allowed to accumulate.'' He also said Akhtar has a lot to offer to Pakistan cricket.

''A fit Akhtar is still head and shoulders above other Pakistani bowlers and he still has a lot of cricket left in him if he keeps himself fit,'' he added.

Akhtar was already on a two-year probation period for hitting a teammate with a bat.

UNI

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