Shoaib Akhtar courts PCB trouble

ISLAMABAD: Controversial Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar ran into trouble Monday again as cricket authorities accused him of violating his contract by criticising team management during a television interview.

The 33-year-old paceman blamed his withdrawal from the World Twenty20 team on team managers, saying he considered taking a legal action against them after a confidential medical report was leaked.

The paceman was found to be suffering from "genital warts" a week before the team's departure for last month's World Twenty20 in England and was withdrawn from the team, which won the event by beating Sri Lanka in the final.

"Akhtar has been served with a show cause notice as he violated the code of conduct," director of operations at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zakir Khan, told AFP.

Khan said that under Akhtar's contract with the PCB, he was not allowed to give interviews or publicly criticise management.

Akhtar confirmed that he had received the notice and said he would reply before a July 31 deadline, after consulting his lawyers.

Akhtar is also fighting a legal case in the high court of the eastern city of Lahore against an 18-month ban and a fine of seven million rupees (95,000 dollars). His appeal case will resume later Monday.

The original ban was five years, imposed when Akhtar publicly criticised the PCB after his omission from the central contract last year.

A PCB appeal committee reduced the ban to 18 months but levied a fine of seven million rupees. Akhtar challenged that decision in the Lahore high court, which suspended the ban but upheld the fine.

The PCB cleared him to play pending a final decision on his appeal and also awarded him a central contract earlier this year.

Akhtar, whose 12-year-career has been beset with fitness and discipline problems, has not been able to win a regular place in the Pakistan team.

He failed a fitness test this month and was dropped from Pakistan's squad for a five-match, one-day series against Sri Lanka starting Thursday, and from the preliminary 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy in September and October.

Akhtar, along with fellow paceman Mohammad Asif, also failed a dope test in 2006 and was banned for two years. Asif was banned for one year. The bans were overturned on appeal.