Akram Raza reinstated as umpire
Akram Raza, the former Pakistan offspinner, has been reinstated to the Pakistan Cricket Board umpiring panel, following his suspension for his alleged involvement in an illegal betting racket. He was arrested and charged by police following a raid on bookmakers in Lahore. After year-long proceedings in a Lahore court, he regained his PCB role.
The PCB today announced the 2012-13 domestic season calendar with Raza named as a match official for the inaugural President's Trophy Grade 1. Javed Miandad, PCB director general, defended his appointment, saying the umpire had produced proof that he was innocent.
"He [Akram] has cleared his name and wanted to revive his services," Miandad said at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. "There is no surprise in reinstating him as in the past, so many players in contention extended their playing careers so there is no difference in this case too. He actually came up with the court notice which proves that he has cleared his name and we cannot challenge the court order. After a lengthy deliberation, we decided to reinstate him.
"He was one of the top umpires in the circuit and we have no reason to snub him if he has cleared his name."
Raza, 47, played nine Tests and 49 ODIs for Pakistan from 1989 to 1995. He was one of the six Pakistani players fined in a match-fixing inquiry conducted by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum in 2000. Until 2011, he had been officiating as a first-class umpire for six years.
"I have reapplied for job after the court cleared me," Raza told ESPNcricinfo. "I once again insist that I had nothing to do with the betting. The PCB had suspended me but I fought my case in court over the last year to come clean. Unfortunately, I have lost ample time in court cases but now it's time to do my umpiring job."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent