Lawyer says he served five-match suspension October 6, 2007

Shoaib escapes further action over Asif spat

Cricinfo staff

A return to innocence? Shoaib Akhtar could get let off lightly by the PCB's disciplinary committee © AFP
Shoaib Akhtar will not face further punishment for hitting Mohammad Asif with a bat, during a dressing room incident before the World Twenty20 in South Africa, after the charge was excluded by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) at the start of the hearing.

Shoaib's lawyer, Bilal Minto, confirmed that the primary allegation had not been included in the charge sheet, while other charges have been levelled against his client.

"There are three charges which Shoaib has to defend," Minto told Dawn, a Karachi-based newspaper. "The first one is: why the bowler played a charity match for England player Chris Lewis on August 8 without the PCB's permission, the second and third relate to the bowler's open criticism in the press after reaching Lahore from South Africa, and his criticism of the PCB anti-doping committee's decision of his two-year suspension."

Minto said that Shoaib should not be banned for taking part in a charity match since, according to him, the central contract prescribes that a player can only be banned for entering a game for commercial purposes and not for "good purposes." He also said that Shoaib was initially chosen in Pakistan's squad for the World Twenty20, despite having played in the charity match two months previously.

Minto was confident that the other two charges would only invite fines and highlighted Shoaib's "praise" for the PCB - "for helping him through the doping scandal" - during a press conference after his arrival from South Africa.

In addition, Minto said that Shoaib, who is under indefinite suspension until the issue is resolved, had served a five-match suspension for his actions and wanted to know the basis for further punishment. "If the PCB set up the inquiry to announce further punishment for Shoaib then under which rule did Shoaib missed the World Twenty20 matches?"

Meanwhile, Shafqat Naghmi, the chief operating officer of the PCB, said that the Asif incident wasn't included in the charge sheet as Shoaib had already been punished for it. "The manager, in his report, has penalised Shoaib for five matches and as the bowler had missed matches of the World Twenty20, we can't announce double punishment in one case."

It has been another eventful 12 months for Shoaib, who was put on probation for missing a training camp prior to the World Twenty20. He was also cleared, along with Asif, of using performance-enhancing drugs after the PCB had initially charged the pair before the 2006 Champions Trophy.