Umar Akmal Photograph:( AFP )
Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal’s suspension has been reduced to 18 months after a trial procedure with independent adjudicator. Akmal was earlier handed a three-year ban on April 27 by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) disciplinary panel
Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Umar Akmal’s suspension has been reduced to 18 months after a trial procedure with independent adjudicator Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, a former Supreme Court judge, Justice (retd). Akmal was earlier handed a three-year ban on April 27 by a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) disciplinary panel, which found him guilty of breaching Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code over two separate incidents.
Akmal’s suspension, which started ahead of this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February, will stay in effect until August 2021, and comes as a huge relief for the 30-year-old.
The Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruptin Code relates to: "Failing to disclose to the PCB Vigilance and Security Department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in Corrupt Conduct under this Anti-Corruption Code".
Akmal was provisionally suspended on February 17 and was withdrawn from PSL 2020 and was later charged by the PCB on March 20 after which his case was handed over to the PCB Disciplinary Panel. He didn’t contest the charges before an Anti-Corruption Tribunal.
The Pakistan batsman decided to appeal against the length of the three-year suspension on May 19 after which an independent adjudicator was appointed.
Akmal’s appeal was based on the narrative that players who were found guilty of similar incidents were handed lighter sanctions. Mohammad Irfan was banned for six months in 2017 whereas Mohammad Nawaz was handed a two-month ban. Akmal was handed a lengthy sanction for failing to show sufficient remorse but it has now been slashed to 18 months.
Akmal’s 18-month suspension is the latest development in the once-promising career troubled by controversies. Before the corruption allegations in February, Akmal had allegedly misbehaved with a staff member after failing a fitness test. However, the PCB had put the episode as “misunderstanding” after an inquiry.