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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Shoaib Akhtar visits Haji Ali

Shoaib Akhtar visits Haji Ali

February 18, 2008 19:35 IST

Shoaib Akhtar at Haji AliPakistan pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar offered namaz at the famous Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai on Monday.

He scotched all rumours on Saturday about joining the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), and confirmed his commitment to play the Indian Premier League (IPL).

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Shoaib's agent, David Ligertwood, expressed confidence that the pace ace would be cleared to play in the IPL.

"This is an exciting week for Shoaib and all other players contracted to the IPL. We have just agreed on the players contract which Shoaib and all other players will sign in the next 48 hours. We are now waiting to find out on Wednesday which city and franchise Shoaib will be engaged with."

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Earlier in the week, Akhtar, who has shown a penchant for controversies since bursting onto the international stage with his express pace, stirred another storm in Pakistan after terming the Pentangular Cup in the country as Grade 'B' cricket.

He faces a life ban following his latest outburst which evoked anger among top officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

'This time he has gone too far. We had already issued a notice to him to explain his earlier statements against the policies of the Board. Now he will face more punitive action,' a senior PCB official said on condition of anonymity.

He made it clear that in the next few days, the Board will decide on banning Akhtar from the ongoing Pentangular Cup.

Akhtar had criticised the standard of the tournament and lashed out at the Board for providing dead Kookaburra balls and a flat pitch for the Federal Areas match against Punjab.

The official said Akhtar was already under a one-year probation period during which, if he indulged in any misconduct, he could face an automatic life ban.

Photograph: Arun Patil