Pakistan's Supreme Court has granted an appeal hearing to former Test batsman Saleem Malik, who was banned in 2001 for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing controversy. Last year the court sought an explanation from the Pakistan board of the law it had invoked to hand Malik a life ban from cricket.

Malik had approached the Supreme Court in 2001 after the Lahore High Court rejected his appeal against the ban.

With the latest developments, Malik hopes his ban will soon be overturned. "This means a lot to me because I have been fighting to clear my name for eight years and once I get this ban overturned I would like to associate myself to cricket once again," Malik told AFP. He is already looking forward to a future associated with the game. "I can't play cricket at my age now but there are hundreds of things linked to cricket which I can do and one is coaching."

Malik was banned by a PCB inquiry headed by Justice Qayyum, a high court judge, after Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh alleged that Malik offered them bribes to underperform on Australia's tour of Pakistan in 1994. He was also barred from holding any office and from involvement in any cricket-related activity.

Malik's name also featured in an Indian match-fixing inquiry which led to life bans on former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma, and he was mentioned by late South African captain Hansie Cronje in another probe.