Vol. 5 Num 1141 Tue. August 14, 2007  

Akhtar to fight the fine

Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar said Monday he had appealed against a 300,000 rupees (5,000 dollars) fine imposed by the Pakistan Cricket Board after he walked out of a training camp.

"I have appealed against the fine because I think I was not given the chance to give my version" of events, Akhtar told AFP.

The cricketer was fined 100,000 rupees for leaving a training camp in Karachi earlier this month, and 200,000 rupees for snubbing a subsequent disciplinary hearing.

But Akhtar said he had not been given advance notice of the hearing, having only been told last Friday.

"The punishment was given two days before that," said Akhtar, who is back in Pakistan's squad after missing the World Cup in the Caribbean due to injury.

Despite his disciplinary problems, the controversial fast bowler insists he fit and ready for action at the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa next month, after playing only one day's cricket this year.

"I am fully fit and gearing up to play my part in the Twenty20 World Cup. All that went earlier this year is past me now," said Akhtar.

The injury prone paceman took four wickets against South Africa in the Port Elizabeth Test in February before breaking down once again.

He played just one Test and four one-day internationals last year, having undergone twin knee operations.

The player was embroiled in a doping scandal last year along with pace partner Mohammad Asif.

The new-ball partners tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in Pakistan before the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, and were subsequently withdrawn from the tournament.

A PCB doping tribunal banned Akhtar for two years and Asif for one year, but the bans were controversially overturned on appeal.

Pakistan get their Twenty20 campaign off the ground against Scotland at Durban on September 12 and arch-rivals India at the same venue two days later.

The team will wrap up its preparation for the event with a training camp starting in Lahore next week. Their new coach Geoff Lawson is expected to join them on August 21.

The former Australian paceman replaced Bob Woolmer who died in Jamaica during the World Cup in March.