Umar Akmal ban halved to 18 months

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal with his lawyer

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal's three-year ban from cricket for failing to report a match-fixing approach was on Wednesday reduced to 18 months on appeal, meaning he can resume playing in August next year.

"I will decide about the remaining sentence and try to get it reduced further", he told local media after his hearing.

"There have been many cricketers before me that have committed corruption but none of them were given a punishment as severe as mine".

Akmal in an interview had said that he was offered $200,000 by fixers to leave two deliveries in one of the matches. "The case against the appellant stands proved to the hilt", the retired Supreme Court judge added. "The learned Chairman (of the PCB Disciplinary Panel) has quite justifiably found the appellant guilty of both the charges", Khokar wrote.

However, the PCB said the adjudicator, "taking a compassionate view" had reduced Umar's ban to 18 months, backdating the start to February 20 when the player was provisionally suspended. Akmal made a decision to appeal against the length of the suspension on May 19, necessitating the appointment of an independent adjudicator, who has now provided the player with some tenure relief.

Akmal had initially been banned for three years for breaching Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code over two separate incidents.

The Quetta Gladiators man was also stopped from taking part in this year's Pakistan Super League (PSL) after allegations appeared on the eve of the opening game that he had breached the anti-corruption code.

He is the younger brother of former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, who played 53 Tests, 58 T20Is, and 157 ODIs for Pakistan, and cousin of current captain Babar Azam.

He subsequently submitted and appeal which was heard at the PCB's National High Performance Centre in Lahore.

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