While people are still questioning Surrey’s decision to sign on Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan Cricket Board is once again in tussle with the troubled fast bowler, his career with Pakistan now hinging on seven million rupees.
Shoaib Akthar is always one for the tally – the balance is never consistent when he shifts dangerously from asset to liability. The latest hurdle for Akhtar prolonging his cricket career with Pakistan rests with him keeping up his end of the bargain. This hurdle would have surfaced much earlier had the Champions Trophy gone ahead as scheduled. Now it has come up against ahead of a four nation Twenty20 tournament in Canada that will feature Pakistan.
Akhtar has been kept out of the Islamabad team in the national twenty20 tournament and the reason being given is the fact that he is yet to clear the fine imposed on him. While the court reduced the five year ban to eighteen months, it upheld the fine amounting to 105,000 US dollars of seven million rupees. With Mohammad Asif embroiled in a drug controversy net, Akhtar found himself back in contention for the Champions Trophy team from Pakistan. However, even then he was asked to first pay up the fine. The matter appeared to subside with the Champions Trophy being postponed to next year.
Akhtar meanwhile is turning out in Surrey colours not only to help them avoid relegation but also, to prove his fitness, not having played since his IPL stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders. Akhtar’s hearing against the ban was also postponed last week for want of the judge caught up with political duties. Akhtar has been disappointed in the absence of a contract and being offered only a retainer by the PCB. Akhtar also found himself embroiled in controversy talking of people back home who wanted to bring his career down while present in India for a television show.
However, the PCB is adamant that Akhtar should uphold the law and pay up the fine before he can find himself back in the squad. With him out of the Islamabad team, it would have ruled him out in the selection process for the four nation tournament. But Pakistan are keeping the door ajar for him and are hoping he will take the cue and decide on his future, one way or another.