Lahore, Apr 30: Controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has apologised to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), its chairman Nasim Ashraf, fellow cricketers and nation for his actions that hurt them.
The PCB had appointed a three-member appellate tribunal that is hearing Akhtar's appeal against a five-year ban. Akhtar was banned April 1 for a string of actions culminating in public criticism of the PCB for not awarding him a contract. He lodged an appeal April 4.
Talking to reporters at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore on Monday after the second hearing, appellate committee chairman Aftab Farrukh said Akhtar had tendered his written apology that had been given to the PCB's legal counsel. The other two members of the committee are former Pakistan Test cricketer Haseeb Ahsan and Salmaan Taseer, an entrepreneur and former federal minister.
"Akhtar's lawyer argued the pacer's case before the tribunal and later submitted the apology. We have informed the PCB lawyer about the apology and on next date of hearing we will hear the board's arguments," added Aftab, who is a former high court judge.
Aftab said whether the PCB forgives Akhtar or not, the case would be decided on merit. "It doesn't mean that after submitting the apology Akhtar will be exonerated, but still it is an important development."
Akhtar was represented by Abid Hasan Minto while the PCB was represented by Tafazul Hussain Rizvi. The next hearing is on Wednesday.
The 32-year-old Akhtar hit out at the PCB in January this year after being omitted from a list of 15 players given central contracts. The fast bowler was already on two years' probation for hitting teammate Mohammad Asif with a bat just days before the start of the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last year.
The PCB has also sent a Pakistani Rs.200 million legal notice to Akhtar after the paceman accused board chairman Nasim Ashraf of victimising him and trying to extort money from him and other members of the national team.
Akhtar has said that if this appeal fails, he will also go through the courts in a bid to get the ban overturned. Akhtar is also facing questioning from the International Cricket Council over separate comments that he was offered money to under-perform in South Africa and India.
Former captains Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan are also considering legal action, after a local TV host claimed that Akhtar told him the pair had offered him money to under-perform.