Shoaib cleared to play in IPL

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Star gets one-month ban reprieve

PAKISTAN bowler Shoaib Akhtar has had his five-year ban lifted for one month paving the way for him to join the Indian Premier League.

Akhtar has his appeal against the five-year ban temporarily rejected until June when a three-man panel would have reconvened to announce their final decision.

Despite plea’s from Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf to allow Akhtar to join the Kolkota Knight Riders, organisers of the IPL refused to allow Akhtar into the tournament unless the ban was lifted.  

Farrukh Aftab, head of the three-man panel set-up to hear Akhtar’s appeal against the ban, told reporters they had suspended the ban for a one month.

“We have suspended the ban for one month and the next hearing will be held on June 4,” Aftab told reporters in Lahore. “Had we not suspended the ban, he could not have been played the in IPL, which we thought was injustice to Akhtar.”

Reacting to the news Akhtar said he was still focussed on having the five-year ban overturned completely.

This is a great relief for me as I am keen to play in the IPL,” Akhtar said. “But this is just one battle won and we still have to win the final case.”

The Kolkata Knight Riders are hoping Akhtar’s involvement will bring a change of fortune for the team who have slumped to four defeats in a row after winning their opening two matches.

Captain Sourav Ganguly said the team were looking forward to having Akhtar in the team.

“He was in our scheme of things initially, and after having had to make do without him in all these games, it’s good to know that he is joining the team,” Ganguly told Hindustan Times.

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