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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 12:23 UK

Shoaib set to fight ban in court

Shoaib Akhtar
Bowler Shoaib was mobbed by supporters after his making his pledge

Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar will go to court if necessary to challenge a ban ruling him out of international and domestic cricket for five years.

The fast bowler, 32, was banned at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for publicly criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board.

"If the board rejects my appeal I will go to the High Court and Supreme Court to get justice," said the bowler.

"I haven't murdered anyone, so why such a harsh penalty?"

Shoaib has also claimed he was offered money to play badly but was never tempted to take it.

"I have rejected many offers in the past to under-perform," he said.

"It happened in Johannesburg and in India but I never accepted because I can't betray my country."

Shoaib maintains he has been made the scapegoat after Pakistan's Test and one-day series defeats by rivals India at the end of last year.

606: DEBATE

And he hit out at the PCB when he was not given one of the 15 central contracts in January, refusing to sign a special retainer contract on offer instead.

Shoaib, who was mobbed by fans during Wednesday news conference, added: "I will definitely be filing the appeal in the next two days and will follow the PCB procedure.

"I feel I have been personally victimised by the board. If I have committed any violation of discipline I should be told about it.

"This sort of ban has not been enforced anywhere on any cricketer.

"Not even those players who were investigated on match-fixing allegations got this sort of ban," he said. "Players who betrayed their country escaped without such punishment.

"I will fight it to the end. Even if I have to retire from the game I will do it to pursue this case but I will not allow them to stigmatise me."

Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning captain, Imran Khan, supports the view that Shoaib was harshly treated by the board.

"It is totally unacceptable. This ban, it literally ends his [international] career," Imran said during a TV interview.

"The board must keep in mind that we also need to win matches and keep our pride in international cricket."

Another former Pakistan captain, Zaheer Abbas, said the absence of Shoaib would only weaken the national team.

"He had some two years of cricket left in him and we should have taken advantage of him, while maintaining discipline," he said.

"I don't know what these people are trying to do. The cricketers are not schoolboys to be treated like this."

Former Pakistan batsman Rameez Raja, however, insisted the ban was justified.

"No one is bigger than the game and he had it coming because of his attitude problems," Rameez commented.


see also
Shoaib given five-year suspension
01 Apr 08 |  Pakistan
Shoaib & Asif left on sidelines
30 Mar 08 |  Pakistan
No Pakistan contract for Shoaib
25 Jan 08 |  Pakistan
Shoaib banned after hitting Asif
11 Oct 07 |  Pakistan
Pakistan fine Shoaib for no-show
08 Aug 07 |  International Teams
Seamer Shoaib feared for career
19 Jan 07 |  Cricket
Bangladesh in Pakistan 2008
24 Mar 08 |  Cricket


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