Talking to mediapersons at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) here yesterday, Akhtar's lawyer Abid Hasan Minto read out a statement on the behalf of the bowler. ''I would like to apologise from the bottom of my heart for any grief or embarrassment that may have been caused to the nation, particularly to the PCB chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf. I have resolved to alter my habits to refrain from such incidents in future and I will obey the PCB rules and regulations,'' Minto said while reading out the pacer's statement. Later, Akhtar also came before the media but was reluctant to speak in detail, only endorsing the statement of his lawyer.
''What my lawyer has just informed you is my statement,'' he said.
Appellate committee chairman Aftab Farrukh said Akhtar's written apology has been given to the legal counsel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
''Akhtar's lawyer argued the pacer's case before the tribunal and later submitted the apology,'' Farrukh said. ''We have informed the PCB lawyer about the apology and on next date of hearing we will hear the board's arguments.'' Aftab asserted, however, that the troubles are not yet over the Rawalpindi Express.
''It doesn't mean that after submitting the apology Akhtar will be exonerated, but still it is an important development,'' he stated. ''Though Shoaib's apology makes the case easier to decide, we have to see what is the response of the PCB chairman.
''His apology may bring mitigation factor in the case, but at this stage I can't say what effect it will have on the whole case.
The punishment may be reduced or it can be increased, too.'' Aftab, however, dismissed comments that the ball is now in the PCB's court.
''How can you say that? We still hold the case and the authority to take the decision according to the laws and regulations,'' he emphasised.
The judge further informed that proceedings are deferred until tomorrow morning for a third session which will be held here at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
''The tribunal decided to adjourn till April 30 and will meet at the NCA.'' Akhtar is also facing an inquiry from the International Cricket Council (ICC) after alleging that he was offered money to under-perform in South Africa and India.
Akhtar is also facing an inquiry from the International Cricket Council (ICC) over allegations that he was offered money to under-perform in South Africa and India.
Former captains Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan are also considering legal action, after a local television channel claimed that Akhtar had told him the duo had offered him money to under-perform as well.
Minto informed that there were five charges levelled against the fast bowler but refused to elaborate on them, saying that it was the job of the media to find out.