Akhtar's career hangs in the balance

Shoaib Akhtar's career after his lawyer failed to show up in Lahore High Court on Monday, prompting the Court to adjourn the proceedings until October 3.

updated: September 22, 2008 14:01 IST
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Uncertainty looms large over Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar's career after his lawyer failed to show up in Lahore High Court on Monday, prompting the Court to adjourn the proceedings until October 3.

The High Court issued notice to the pacer's lawyer to make a mandatory appearance in the court at the next date so as to start the proceedings on the Pakistan Cricket Board's application to get directives if Akhtar can play domestic or international cricket without paying a seven million rupees fine.

The PCB has now asked the court to give a clear cut order if legally Akhtar can play in the national Twenty20 championship starting from October 4 and on his selection in the national team in case if he does not pay the fine first.

The fine was imposed on Akhtar by an appellate tribunal of the PCB in June while reducing a five-year ban on to 18-months.

Akhtar, later, filed a writ petition with the Lahore High Court bench challenging the ban and fine. While the court has suspended the ban in an interim order, it didn't issue orders on payment of the fine.

"In pure legal terms, Shoaib Akhtar can't play in the domestic T20 championship or be considered for Pakistan until the fine issue is cleared," legal counsel for the PCB, Tafazzul Rizvi said.

The PCB has said it wants Akhtar to play the T20 championship as the fine was a legal issue and would be resolved in time.

However, Rizvi made it clear that the Board had its point of view from a cricketing aspect, but legally the matter was now subjudice and the fast bowler had to pay the fine to play in Pakistan or for consideration in the national team.

"I wouldn't like to comment further on this issue as it is with the court now and we are waiting for a clear directive from the court to assist us," he added.

Interestingly, doubts have now also been raised by unnamed selectors over Akhtar's fitness and form after he failed to make an impact with the English countyside Surrey in two first class matches.

Akhtar was given permission by the PCB to play for Surrey in a bid to assess his form and fitness but reports say the selectors are not satisfied with the pacer's performance.

The selectors face a dicey situation as does the Board because of the legal implications of the fine issue as the Pakistan team for a four-nation international Twenty20 tournament is due to be announced early next month.

"Today we had filed a miscellaneous application in the writ petition that was filed by Shoaib Akhtar and was taken up by the honorable Chief Justice. He was pleased to issue a notice to Shoaib for October 3, whereby he has to come and appear because we had requested the honorable judge to clarify the order as he is not paying the fine even after the receipt of two notices," Rizvi said.

"We had sought a clarification from the court whether he should be allowed to play without the payment of the fine or not. The matter is now with the Chief Justice and will be decided on October 3," he added.