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Appeals tribunal lifts ban on Shoaib Malik

Lahore: A Pakistan Cricket Board-appointed appeals judge today lifted the one-year ban on former captain Shoaib Malik, saying the all-rounder, accused of being a "negative influence" in the past, is a changed man now.

Former High Court judge Irfan Qadir`s decision came at the National Cricket Academy where he held his hearing in which Malik was represented by his lawyer.

The judge also reduced a fine on Malik from Rs two million to Rs one million.

"The board`s legal advisor has reported to me that after monitoring Malik in the last three months they feel he has improved his behavior and attitude," Qadir told reporters.

"I have decided to uphold his appeal and lift the ban as the purpose of disciplinary action against players was to make them rethink about their careers," he said.

Malik, who is in Dubai after his marriage to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza, hailed the Qadir`s decision, saying the ban was a slur on his career.

"The purpose of my appealing to the board was to clear this stigma against my name. The ban was a stigma for me and my family," Malik told `Geo News`.

The PCB had banned Malik and all-rounder Rana Naved for 12 months and fined them Rs two million each in March for indiscipline on the tour of Australia.

The board also banned former captains Muhammad Yousuf and Younus Khan for indefinite periods and fined Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal on the recommendations of an inquiry committee report into the tour in March.

Leaked video recordings of the hearings revealed that most of the players including captain Shahid Afridi, former coach Intikhab Alam and manager Abdul Raquib blamed Malik for fanning intrigues and creating disharmony in the team.

PCB legal advisor Talib Rizvi said the ban was lifted because the board wanted these players to represent the country again after they reformed themselves.

The national selectors have included Malik and Younus in a list of 35 probables for the next month`s Asia Cup and tour to England.

Rizvi said Malik is free to represent the country again.

The judge had also scheduled a hearing for Younus Khan whose lawyer Ahmed Qayyum was present at the hearing but could not give a decision after Qayyum refused to accept a decision behind closed doors and wanted the media to attend the proceedings.

Rizvi said the appeals judge has now scheduled the hearing for Younus on June 12 while the appeals of Afridi and the Akmal brothers would be heard on June 9.

The appeal of Rana Naved is due to be heard on June 19 but he is not included in the list of probables for the coming tournaments.

PTI

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