Karachi, July 2 : Pakistan's continued bad bowling performances in recent times, latest being in the Asia Cup, could pave the way for an early return to international cricket of the controversial paceman Shoaib Akhtar, said an article in The News.
Currently Shoaib is facing an 18-month ban imposed by the PCB on April 1 over "repeated breaching of discipline". Initially he was banned for five years, but following his appeal to the Tribunal hearing the case, his ban was reduced to 18 months.
Due to their unimpressive bowling attack, Pakistan have been eliminated out of the final of the ongoing Asia Cup in Pakistan.
The 'Rawalpindi Express' has filed his appeal against the ban in the Lahore High Court. He immediately got a good response when the judge hearing his appeal told him "all of us want to see you back in action." Now, High Court Chief Justice Zahid Hussain will be hearing the appeal on Friday and according to sources close to Shoaib, there is a "big possibility" that the fiery paceman will be given a respite.
Shoaib (32) has not played for Pakistan for the last seven months after appearing in the fourth one-dayer against India in Gwalior last November. He has been out of action either due to injury or suspension.
According to sources, the pacer has been lately working on his fitness in a bid to be fully ready for international duty if his ban is overturned. Another reason for his keenness to remain in shape is the Indian Premier League (IPL) as Shoaib is eager to retain his contract with Kolkata Knight Riders next season, said the paper.
Meanwhile, the court has summoned the PCB for the July 4 hearing, said the Board lawyer Taffazul Hussain Rizvi, and added: "The court heard the petition and has given an urgent notice to the respondent, the PCB, to appear before it on July 4."