Akmal apologises for failing to report corrupt approaches

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Lahore

Pakistan middle-order batsman Umar Akmal has tendered a public apology for failing to report corrupt approaches made to him, over which he had to serve a 12-month ban.

In a video message released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday, Akmal, 31, said he had made a “mistake” last year that harmed both his career and cricket.

“Some people approached me but I was unable to report the same to the [PCB] anti-corruption unit, due to which I had to face a 12-month ban,” he said, adding that it had been a “very difficult” period for him.

He continued: “I learned a lot during this time and today I confess before all of you that that mistake brought disrepute to Pakistan Cricket.”

Akmal was suspended in February 2020 for failing to report details of corrupt approaches made to him just before the start of the fifth Pakistan Super League season.

He apologised to his family, the PCB and cricket fans over his breach. He also advised other cricketers to stay away from “any such suspicious activity” and report any dubious approaches on time.

The issuance of a public apology is part of the rehabilitation programme a sanctioned cricketer has to undergo before their re-entry into the sport. Such a player can also be asked to give a lecture to other cricketers about their mistake.

After the completion of this process, Akmal could make a return to mainstream cricket, and there are chances of him being given an opportunity in the next domestic season.

The PCB’s disciplinary panel had in April 2020 found Akmal guilty on two charges of separate breaches and handed him a three-year suspension with the periods of ineligibility to run concurrently.

That ban was halved after Akmal appealed to an independent adjudicator, before both Akmal and the PCB took the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

In February this year, the CAS had reduced the ban on the batsman to 12 months but hit him with a hefty fine of Rs4.25 million for breaching the PCB’s anti-corruption code.

The PCB said at the time that Akmal would be eligible to compete again after completing a rehabilitation programme.

Akmal emerged on the international cricket scene with a hundred in his first Test in New Zealand in 2009.

He has played 16 Tests, 121 one-day internationals, as well as 84 Twenty20 Internationals so far.

But his career has been bridled by disciplinary problems, including an arrest after scuffling with a traffic warden in 2014.

The batsman was also sent home after he failed a fitness test ahead of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England and has been hit with various fines over the years.—APP

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