IPL doors still closed for Shoaib Akhtar
The Pakistan Cricket Board may have given some relief to Shoaib Akhtar, allowing him to play anywhere except in Pakistan while upholding his five-year ban, but the Indian Premier League doors are still closed for the fast bowler.
IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi told IANS Wednesday that he would make a statement after studying the PCB decision.
An appellate tribunal of the PCB Wednesday upheld the ban on Akhtar till the next hearing in June, but made it clear that he was free to play in the IPL.
However, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is categorical that Shoiab, who was bought by Kolkata Night Riders at the players’ auction, cannot play in the IPL when he is banned from playing for Pakistan.
“Shoaib Akhtar cannot play in the IPL till PCB allows him to play for Pakistan. We will remain firm in our decision,” BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said Wednesday.
Skipper Sourav Ganguly seems to have taken the fast-bowler’s absence in his stride.
“I am missing Shoaib in the team. This was our first chance to play not against each other but together. But we can question neither the PCB nor the BCCI on their decisions. Hope he will be with us in the next league,” Ganguly told IANS.
Team owner Shah Rukh Khan seems to have accepted the BCCI decision.
“Shoaib is a true Knight Rider. His presence would have made the team even stronger. But if the BCCI has decided not to allow him to play in the IPL there must be a reason and we don’t have an option but to abide by its decision,” Shahrukh said before leaving Kolkata Wednesday.