PCB chairman responds to fast bowler's comments to TV channel April 3, 2008

Ashraf files legal notice against Shoaib

Cricinfo staff

Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan board chairman, has served a legal notice on Shoaib Akhtar © AFP

Shoaib Akhtar's troubles continue as Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the PCB, has served a legal notice on the fast bowler for comments he made to a private television channel in the aftermath of the PCB's decision to ban him for five years.

Shoaib appeared on a number of TV channels yesterday arguing his case, after he addressed a packed press conference claiming that he had been victimised. Though he refused to attack the chairman specifically on some channels, in an interview to the Express News channel, he alleged that the ban was punishment in return for refusing to give the chairman a share of his salary from the Indian Premier League (IPL). Shoaib also alleged that Ashraf had tried to extort money from other Pakistani cricketers as well.

The notice, issued by the board's legal firm on behalf of Ashraf, said that the comments made by Shoaib were "not only utterly outrageous, fabricated, and manifestly baseless" but were made "solely to character assassinate [Ashraf]". It added that his allegations were a "counterblast" to the disciplinary action taken against Shoaib, and had damaged the reputation of Ashraf, as well as the Pakistan board.

The notice called upon Shoaib to "retract" his statements against Ashraf, and "tender an unconditional apology". The notice also sought damages of Rs100 million (approximately US$1.6 million) to Ashraf for "defaming him personally" and another Rs100 million to the PCB for "sullying the name of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan Cricket team."

Ashraf has threatened to seek legal remedies under the civil and criminal laws of Pakistan if Shoaib does not respond to the notice's requirements.

This is the second setback on the day for Shoaib, who just hours earlier, was barred from taking part in the IPL till the end of his five-year ban or until his ban is lifted.

Shoaib was banned for comments he made after not being offered a contract by the PCB, in which he lashed out at domestic tournaments, pitches and the administration. The severity of the ban, argue the board, is the result of a litany of disciplinary issues; he was also on a two-year probationary period after hitting team-mate Mohammad Asif with a bat before the World Twenty20 last year, an act which also saw him banned for 13 matches and fined over US$50,000. The board had warned him that any further transgression during this period would result in a life ban.