Karachi:Temperamental Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar got a respite as the Lahore High Court on Friday suspended the 18-month ban on the controversial bowler, allowing him to play until a final decision is taken on the issue.
The court, however, did not remove the seven million rupees fine that was imposed on Shoaib last month by an appellate tribunal which heard his appeal against the original five-year ban imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board in April.
The PCB had banned the bowler for five years for violating a two-year probation period and other counts of indiscipline.
Shoaib then filed a writ petition in the High Court against the ban and a separate application to stay the ban.
"The court today retained the fine but suspended the ban and he is now available for selection. But first of all he has to pay the fine of 7 million rupees. Today was the last working day of the honorable High Court and some kind of stay had to be given to him otherwise the writ petition could not have been heard before September," said Tafazzul Rizvi, PCB's legal counsel.
"The court will now hear his writ petition and arguments for and against it sometime in September and only than will it decide on lifting the ban and dropping the fine.
"We have not seen the full order of the court as yet but we will show full respect the decision of the court," Rizvi added.
The pacer said he was relieved at the court decision and was keen to resume playing for Pakistan.
"It has been a hard last few months for me. I am very relieved today but I just want to get back to playing cricket and regain my match fitness. I am very keen to represent my country in the Champions Trophy at home," he said.
Shoaib said he would try to get some practice in England for some county or league side.
"I am thankful to the PCB Chairman and the people for their support in last two months. I am keen to now resume positively," he said.
"I filed the writ petition because I was disappointed with the decision of the appellate tribunal," he added.
Rizvi meanwhile made it clear that Shoaib's selection was something which only the selectors could decide.
"It is not a matter of right for anyone to play for Pakistan, that's the job for the selection committee to decide," he said.