Pakistan's Twenty20 marred by controversy April 29, 2005

Malik's place on Caribbean tour in jeopardy

Shoaib Malik lost his Twenty20 game on purpose, following which the Pakistan board set up an inquiry © Getty Images

Shoaib Malik, the captain of the Sialkot Stallions, could have put his place in the Caribbean-bound Pakistan squad in jeopardy, after deliberately conceding a game to the Karachi Zebras in the ongoing Twenty20 tournament in Lahore.

Speaking to Cricinfo, PCB Director Saleem Altaf said: "The principles of natural justice must apply now. There has been a breach of the playing code of conduct and this would be a Level II offence around the world. That results in either a 50-100% match fee fine or a one-Test or two-ODI match ban."

Malik is due to face a three-man disciplinary hearing on Saturday morning comprising the former Test cricketer and selector, Shafiq Ahmed; the former team manager, Haroon Rasheed, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal adviser, Asghar Haider, who will decide on the punishment.

It could've been a lot worse, however, as sources within the PCB revealed to Cricinfo that the PCB Chairman, Shaharyar Khan, had been incensed enough by Malik's actions to suggest dropping him from the touring squad immediately. "The chairman wanted him out straight away but he must be given a disciplinary hearing first."

The PCB had been trying to contact Malik for most of the day without luck, although sources said that Malik was keen to meet the chairman and apologise for his behaviour, adding: "He is repentant now."

Malik refused to speak of the incident when contacted but some reports yesterday suggested he had apologised to fans soon after the post-match ceremony, where he admitted he had lost the match deliberately. Malik claims he was protesting against an earlier result in the tournament, when the Lahore Eagles were controversially awarded a victory against his side due to a penalty imposed for slow over-rates.

Newspapers reported that Malik had constantly asked the umpires whether they were behind the over-rate and had been told they weren't. It was only later, after the match was over, that the Lahore Eagles manager complained to the match referee, who then overturned the verdict.

Abbas Zaidi, Director Protocol and PR for PCB told Cricinfo that players had failed to read the tournament rules and regulations properly. "The penalties for slow over-rates are clearly laid out and if players don't read them, then these sort of situations can arise."

The situation comes during a mixed time for Malik; it follows his successful tour of India where he ended the ODI series as Man of the Match in Delhi, scoring his third fifty of the series. In recent months, he has also been widely tipped as a future captain of Pakistan by, among others, Shaharyar Khan. But this has come amid continuing speculation about his bowling action. Until he started bowling again in India, his form and place in the side seemed uncertain. After this latest incident, it might be so once again.

Osman Samiuddin is a freelance journalist based in Karachi