Shoaib Akhtar's ongoing war with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took
yet another twist with the fast bowler sacked as captain and removed
from the regional side he was leading in the Pentangular Cup. Shoaib,
however, insists that he is opting out of the tournament for personal
reasons and has now expressed his desire to win back a contract with
the PCB. He also reiterated his wish to play in the Indian Premier
"My absolute priority in my cricket career has always been to take
wickets for Pakistan and help my country win matches," Shoaib was
quoted in a media release by his agent. "I am hopeful of entering a
new contract with my board very soon."
Shoaib had been asked by the PCB to take part in the domestic
tournament, as captain of the Federal Capital Areas (FCA) team, to
prove his fitness for future international matches. He led his side to
a draw against Punjab in the first round of matches, though only
bowled 18 wicketless overs in short spells as FCA's bowling was
hammered by Salman Butt.
The decision to sack him, sources confirmed to Cricinfo, was taken by
the FCA team management, citing poor performance, indiscipline and the
negative influence he has on team-mates. The decision will raise
eyebrows in any case, but more so as it comes in the wake of a
continuing spat between Shoaib and the board.
Shoaib has been openly critical of the board's policies, particularly
in awarding central contracts, for which he was overlooked. He has
also publicly refused to respond to the board's demands for an
explanation of his comments, arguing that as he wasn't contracted to
them, he isn't bound to answer to them. If he is found guilty of
indiscipline or breaching the players' code of conduct, he could well
be gone from Pakistan cricket, as he is already on a two-year
probation period, in which any indiscretion could result in an
automatic life ban.
Shoaib, however, told Dawn, a leading daily, that he was opting out
because of his sister's wedding. "I am busy in my sister's wedding,
therefore, at the moment I am not available for any more matches and
am not sure if I will be free for the last match of the cup also."
Dismissing the recent speculation on his involvement with the IPL, he
said, "My commitment to the IPL is absolute. There is a lot of talk
flying around players at the moment regarding the new Twenty20
competitions, but I have signed with the IPL and I am so e***d about
the upcoming bid process and finding out which franchisee I will play
for". He also said he has spoken with the IPL commissioner Lalit Modi
and wished to play a "big part" in this venture.
Shoaib will be arriving in India ahead of the bidding process in
Mumbai on February 20 to hold talks with the IPL franchisees. His
agent David Ligertwood said that Shoaib has agreed in principle to the
IPL contract and he will sign before February 17.
The IPL contract with him is for a period for three years and Shoaib
said he was looking forward to play in India. "I am in it for the long
haul [with IPL]. I cannot wait to interact with the local fan base and
become one of their 'own' players. If I am able to win even a fraction
of the 'love' the Indian people have for their players it will be
amazing. And I will be giving everything I can to try and achieve that
for the next three years and hopefully beyond."
Looks like his international career with Pakistan is over. He barely
bowled 18 over in entire test match without taking a wicket. What's
even worse Salman ***scored a double ton against his bowling.