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Shoaib faces defamation suit

THE chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) served a notice for alleged defamation on Shoaib Akhtar yesterday for statements made after the fast bowler was banned for five years earlier this week.

In a legal notice sent to Shoaib and seen by Reuters yesterday, Nasim Ashraf demanded an unconditional apology and 200 million rupees (US$7,08 million) for defaming him personally and sullying the name of the PCB and the team.
Shoaib said in a television interview on Wednesday that Ashraf tried to extort money from him for playing in the Indian Premier League and that the disciplinary action was taken against him because he refused, the notice said.
Shoaib also alleged that Ashraf had demanded payments from other members of the team.
“If you fail to strictly and immediately comply with the above take note our client reserves his and the board’s right to avail any and all legal remedies under the civil and criminal laws of Pakistan,” the notice said.
Ashraf told Reuters he was compelled to serve the notice to stop the mudslinging.
“These things are damaging the image of Pakistan cricket badly. The purpose of serving the notice is to let the truth come out,” Ashraf said.
The notice added that Shoaib’s allegations were “utterly outrageous, fabricated, manifestly baseless and are vehemently denied in the strongest possible words”.
Ashraf said the 32-year-old pace bowler had made a habit of making damaging statements which hurt Pakistan cricket and the team.
“Let me make it clear the ban on him was imposed after much deliberation and discussion. A 15-member governing body of the board and later the disciplinary committee decided enough was enough and no compromise should be made on discipline,” he said.
Ashraf said the Shoaib was free to appeal the ban within seven days.
“A lot of pressure is exerted on us and we are in the firing line but we have done nothing wrong and we have nothing personal against him,” he added.
Shoaib, who was handed a five-year ban on Tuesday after a series of disciplinary violations, met with his lawyer in Lahore yesterday and announced he would file his appeal today.
Pakistan batsman Younis Khan said he was saddened by the whole episode, but felt the board and Shoaib could still find a resolution.
“I think they need to find a solution with mutual consent. I know being a cricketer myself that such a ban can badly affect the professional and private life of a player and upset him,” Younis told reporters in Karachi.
Pakistan are preparing for a five-match one-day series against Bangladesh starting on Tuesday. – Reuters.

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