October 18, 2003

Akhtar banned for one Test and two ODIs

Pakistans Shoaib Akhtar will miss the second Test against South Africa and two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) after being found guilty of breaching the ICCs Code of Conduct today.

A charge was brought by South Africas team management after an incident involving Akhtar and South Africas Paul Adams towards the end of the first day of the first Test in Lahore.

Akhtar was found guilty of using language that was obscene, offensive or of a generally insulting nature to another player (CC 2.9 of the Code) in a hearing with ICC Match Referee Clive Lloyd.

The penalty for a Level 2 breach of the Code is usually a maximum of one Test Match or two ODIs but as this is Akhtars second breach of CC 2.9 within the last 12 months the punishment is upgraded to that of a Level 3 offence.

Akhtars earlier breach of CC 2.9 was for making an obscene gesture to the crowd in the fifth ODI in Zimbabwe in December 2002. A Level 3 offence carries an automatic penalty of between two and four Test Matches or four and eight ODIs.

This incident was unnecessary and unacceptable, said Mr Lloyd on announcing his decision.

I have been very disappointed in the behaviour of both teams during this series and I would urge the coaches, captains and managers to get their players together and remind them of the importance of playing in a professional manner.

Cricket is a noble game based on honesty, integrity and fair play and if the players cannot comprehend this they should not be playing the game.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed supported Mr Lloyd in his call for the teams to act in a more responsible manner.

It is not for me to comment on the merits of any individual case but in light of the number of incidents that have been reported in this series I hope both sides will take heed of Clives words, said Mr Speed.

The Code was strengthened in June with the agreement of all the Test-playing nations to help preserve the unique spirit of the game. The teams and players are aware of their obligations and need to ensure they meet them.

An alleged breach of the ICC Code of Conduct can be reported by the umpires, the team managers, the Chief Executive Officers of the participating boards or the ICC Chief Executive.

Akhtar does have a right of appeal which must be exercised within 24 hours of notification of the decision. If there is no appeal the ban applies with immediate effect.

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Brendan McClements Jon Long
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