PCB bans Akhtar for 13 matches

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibakhtar1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday suspended fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for 13 matches for hitting fellow paceman Mohammed Asif.

Updated: October 15, 2007 07:57 IST
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The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday suspended fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for 13 matches for hitting fellow paceman Mohammed Asif in South Africa last month, a board official said.

Apart from the ban, Akhtar was slapped with a fine of 34 lakh Pakistani rupees. He has also been put on a two-year probation.

The board also said that any further incident of indiscipline will result in a life ban for Shoaib.

Shafqat Naghmi, the board's chief operating officer and chairman of the disciplinary committee said Akhtar was found guilty of four breaches of the code of conduct and would be under a two-year observation.

Known as "Rawalpindi Express" for his pace, Akhtar was ordered to attend a hearing last week to explain the row, in which he struck Asif with a bat on the thigh, although he insisted the blow was unintentional and that he had been provoked by another teammate Shahid Afridi.

Akhtar has already missed nine matches, besides the World Twenty20 games in South Africa and the two home Test matches against South Africa.

He will be available for selection for the last of the five ODIs against South Africa later this month.

"I am not going to appeal against the ban," Akhtar told reporters, following the announcement. "I have suffered enough, it was all in the heat of the moment and I'll make sure to be extra careful in the future."

The PCB official threatened that the pacer was one incident away from the end of his international career. "If he is found guilty of any indiscipline act, he faces life ban," Naghmi said.

The other three charges against Akhtar were - missing a training camp in August and opting to play a charity match in England; giving statements against the PCB in various newspapers; and conducting an unauthorized press briefing on his return from South Africa.

Last year Shoaib and Asif tested positive for a banned substance ahead of the Champions Trophy and were sent home from the tournament in India.

They were subsequently cleared but Akhtar has played just one Test and four one-dayers in the last 15 months because of fitness and disciplinary problems. (With agency inputs)

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