Umar Akmal's ban halved to 18 months

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Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal’s three-year ban for failing to report corrupt approaches was on Wednesday reduced to 18 months on “compassionate” grounds but the cricketer said he was not satisfied with the reprieve and will fight for a complete lifting of the suspension.

Akmal’s ban will effectively run from February 2020 to August 2021 after the 30-year-old’s sentence was reduced by independent adjudicator Faqir Mohammad Khokhar. The batsman expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling on his appeal.

“There have been many cricketers before me who have committed corruption but none of them were given a punishment as severe as mine. I will appeal once more to get my sentence reduced,” Akmal was quoted as saying by the local media here after the fresh decision. “I am not happy with the suspension,” he added.

Khokhar, in his order, stated that the case against Akmal was proved to the “hilt” but he reduced the length of the ban out of compassion.

Khokhar felt that the “self-incriminatory admission” by Akmal to the show cause notice about match-fixing on two occasions by two different persons “leaves no room for doubt as to the veracity of the charges against him.”

“The stance taken by the appellant is self-contradictory and not credit-worthy. The case against the appellant stands proved to the hilt. The learned Chairman (of the PCB Disciplinary Panel) has quite justifiably found the appellant guilty of both the charges,” Khokar wrote.

The PCB added: “…Whilst taking a compassionate view, the Independent Adjudicator reduced the length of Umar Akmal’s ban to one year and six months.”

Akmal was handed a three-year ban in April for failing to report approaches ahead of the Pakistan Super League. He had accepted his mistake but tried to justify his position. He last played a Test for Pakistan in late 2009 but his most recent international appearance was in last October in the T20 home series against Sri Lanka.