Umar Akmal’s ban reduced to 18 months
In a big relief, the adjudicator reduced the three-year ban on Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal to one and a half year (18 months) while reviewing his appeal against the sentence awarded to him for failing to report match-fixing approaches during PSL matches, meaning he can resume playing in August next year, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Former Supreme Court judge and independent adjudicator Faqir Mohammad Khokhar on Wednesday announced the appeal result, which had been reserved two weeks ago, after a short hearing in Lahore attended by Akmal and his lawyer.
Akmal pleaded guilty in April to a charge of failing to report two match-fixing approaches and received a three-year ban for each offence, to run concurrently from February 20.
Talking to newsmen after hearing the verdict, Umar Akmal said, “I will say only this with the same wrongdoings what punishments were given to other cricketers in comparison to what I have got now.”
However, the explosive batsman maintained that he will again file an appeal against this sentence. “It’s still a harsh one,” he added.
Despite the reduction, Akmal complained he had been unfairly treated. "I am still not satisfied because other players got less punishment on the same charge," Umar told media, referring to a one-year ban (six months suspended) handed to fast bowler Mohammad Irfan in 2017.
Irfan had not contested the charge of failing to report and was given an "agreed sanction".
"I will consult my lawyers and then try to get it reduced further," Akmal said.
Umar Akmal's lawyer Tayyab Rizvi told the media that he was grateful to the adjudicator for accepting their appeal. Rizvi said, “Our plea was that the punishment was more than the act and in our opinion, a heavy ban was imposed in our case. We will decide later to go to another forum.”
He was banned from all forms of cricket for three years after pleading guilty to failure to report match-fixing approaches during Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches.
Chief of Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Independent Disciplinary Panel Justice (retd) Fazal Miran Chauhan had announced the original judgment. Justice Chauhan in May released the detailed verdict of the corruption case against Umar Akmal.
The chief of the disciplinary panel remarked that the batsman was not willing to show any remorse or apology over his actions. He added that the cricketer failed to fulfill his responsibility under Article 2.4.4 of the Anti-Corruption Code and took refuge under the pretext that he has reported such incidents in the past.
“As far as Charge No.1 is concerned, I do not see any circumstances to mitigate the nature of the offence, particularly, when the participant (Umar Akmal) has not cooperated with the PCB Vigilance and Security Department and the investigating team,” the judge was quoted as saying in a PCB press release.
“In view of the admission of the participant (Umar Akmal) that he failed to disclose to PCB Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Department, the details of the approaches and invitations extended to him without unnecessary delay. The charge as framed is proved and the participant (Umar Akmal) has rendered himself liable to be punished for breach of Article 2.4.4.”
Following a brilliant Test debut in 2009 when he scored a century in New Zealand, the talented Akmal was touted as a future great but his career has been punctuated by controversy before this year's ban.
Akmal was arrested in 2014 after a scuffle with a traffic warden in Lahore. And he was banned for three matches and fined over a spat with Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur in 2017.