Lawyers approach tribunal with eye on IPL May 3, 2008

Shoaib pushes for suspension of ban

Cricinfo staff

Shoaib Akhtar still hasn't given up hopes of taking part in the IPL © AFP
Shoaib Akhtar's lawyers have asked for a suspension of his five-year ban in a bid to allow him to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and are set once again to approach the Appellate Tribunal looking into his appeal.

The tribunal reached a decision of sorts this week, allowing Shoaib to play in competitions outside Pakistan, but upholding his five-year ban for playing in or for Pakistan at least until June when they will revisit his appeal.

It was thought that this verdict would free up Shoaib to play in the IPL and Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, even spoke personally to Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, to allow him to do so. But the IPL refused, arguing that a player banned from playing for his country would not be eligible to play in the league.

It is believed that Shoaib's legal team had asked for the ban to be suspended at the last hearing so that he could play in the IPL. But the tribunal, by specifically granting him permission to play outside Pakistan, thought there was no need to suspend the ban.

"The order was taken to the IPL because we all thought there was no need to lift the ban for Shoaib to play there," a source close to the player told Cricinfo.

"But the IPL then said that until he remains banned from Pakistan duty, he cannot play in the IPL, so an application will now be filed with the tribunal to suspend the ban until such time as the appeal is resolved."

Shoaib was banned for five years in April by the PCB after he criticised the board and its policies at the turn of the year, thus breaching the players' code of conduct.

The punishment, harsh on the surface, took into account past indiscretions and in particular the fact that he had been put on a two-year probation period after his last disciplinary scuffle - his tiff with Mohammad Asif before last year's Twenty20 World Cup.

After the ban, Shoaib accused the the chairman of the PCB publicly on several local TV channels of financial misbehaviour, which led to the Ashraf slapping a defamation lawsuit on the player. Shoaib has now also been asked to appear before a Lahore civil court on May 16th.