LAHORE: Not surprisingly and not for the first time, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has taken a u-turn on its decision and lifted the year-long ban on former captain Shoaib Malik.
The decision was relayed to the public via the PCB’s one-man tribunal, Irfan Qadir, who, despite being labelled an ‘independent’ tribunal, could do no more than announce the decision.
Malik was one of seven cricketers who were penalised by the cricket board on the recommendation of the inquiry committee following the whitewash on the tour of Australia.
The five-member inquiry committee, including the current manager Yawar Saeed, had recommended that Malik should not be the part of the national team in any format for a period of one year and imposed a Rs2 million fine on the former captain for creating disharmony and conspiring against the captain.
“The PCB itself said that they are lifting the ban on Malik but his fine - which was on disciplinary issues - has been reduced,” Qadir said after the hearing at the National Cricket Academy. “Therefore, Malik’s appeal has been accepted and the order against him has been set aside.”
In a justification of sorts, but complementing the haphazard and unknown circles the board works in, the PCB justified lifting the ban due to his conduct in the last three months. Ironically, Malik has not been seen around any cricket ground or played any cricket in this time period.
“According to the chairman’s instructions, each player had been strictly monitored during their ban and observing Malik’s activities in the last three months, the PCB feels he has improved his behaviour and attitude,” said PCB’s legal adviser Talib Rizvi. “The ban served as disciplinary action against players and was to make them rethink about their careers.”
Malik was earlier selected in the 35-man squad for the Asia Cup and the tour of England before the hearing was completed, a hint strong enough that the former captain was close to making his international comeback. “Malik is now free to be selected in any squad of Pakistan team but we want the players to follow discipline in the future,” added Rizvi.
Former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia labelled the ban and the hearing a “total drama” and criticised the board for succumbing to political pressure.
“This management has completely failed to handle pressure and hold their writ,” Zia told The Express Tribune. “It’s a total drama and it appears the PCB came under political pressure to revoke the ban, which unfortunately is the victory of player power. It has also made Pakistan cricket a laughing stock in the world.” Younus hearing adjourned On the contrary, another former captain Younus Khan’s hearing was adjourned due a conflict between the PCB and Younus’ laywer Ahmed Qayyum as Qadir refused to allow two observers - previously agreed - in the session and called for a close hearing. As a result, Younus’s hearing has been adjourned until June 9. “I wanted to give a ruling on Younus’ appeal but his lawyer said he wanted more time to talk to his client,” said Qadir. “I want to wrap up these appeals because the board has made its stance clear to me now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30, 2010.