Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi on Wednesday banned Umar Akmal from participating in the next three international or domestic matches and fined Rs1 million after a report found the batsman to be in violation of several clauses of his central contract, a press release issued by the cricketing body said.
The report, which was submitted to the PCB chairman by a disciplinary committee, found Akmal to have violated clauses 2.2.5, 4.1 and 4.4 of his contract on several occasions, the press release added.
Under these clauses, a player who signs a central contract of the PCB cannot speak to the media, give an interview or issue a statement without prior permission from the board. The code also bars a player from issuing a statement against the team management.
Although Akmal is currently not on the contract, it is binding to signatories up to one year after expiry of the contract.
A fine of Rs1 million was also imposed on the batsman, the press release said, adding that no-objection certificates will not be issued for Akmal to participate in foreign leagues or tournaments for a period of two months.
PCB Chairman Sethi claimed to have imposed the sanctions against Akmal "with a heavy heart".
He hoped they would serve as an example for all cricketers to be mindful of their obligations and consequences of their actions.
On August 13, Akmal, talking to media, had levelled serious allegations — of harsh behaviour and verbal abuse — against than national team head coach, Mickey Arthur. Days later, the PCB issued a show-cause notice to the batsman.
Responding to the show-cause notice on September 10, Akmal claimed his actions were impulsive and unintentional.
The discarded 27-year-old batsman, in a press conference earlier this year, claimed he went to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) on August 12, where he and Arthur had a heated encounter.
Giving the background of his conversation and meeting with Arthur, Akmal said, “First, I met the trainer and other members of the foreign staff of the national team management who refused to work with me, saying they will only work with [PCB’s] centrally-contracted players. After this, I went to the head coach.”
According to Akmal, the head coach did not seem to be in a good mood and took him to Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq where NCA head coach Mushtaq Ahmed was also present.
“There he [Arthur] used abusive words for me in the presence of both Inzamam and Mushtaq which is really painful and highly embarrassing for me as a cricketer who has played for the national team,” Akmal said at the presser.
Akmal added, “Arthur also admonished me, asking who allowed me to enter the NCA. He told me that it was better that I play club cricket instead of practising at the NCA.
“As a national cricketer, it is my right to use the NCA to improve my form and fitness,” he asserted.
Akmal, who has played 16 Tests, 116 ODIs and 82 T20 Internationals for Pakistan, emphasised.
Akmal — who on various occasions in the past has made headlines for his antics off the field — claimed that he was not penalised during his career on a single occasion for any on-field breach of discipline, adding, “I never misbehaved with any coach in the past.”
Akmal maintained that although he had not received an appropriate response from Arthur on the occasion of the ICC Champions Trophy held in June this year, the treatment meted out to him on Tuesday at the NCA was even more heart-breaking.
While the Inzamam-led selection committee had picked Akmal for the Champions Trophy, Arthur sent him back after the batsman failed a fitness Test in England.
Earlier, Akmal, according to the PCB, had passed the fitness test held at the NCA. However, Arthur sent him back and replaced him with Haris Sohail for the elite eight-nation event.
According to Akmal, he fell to the ground during a fitness test in England, but the trainer suggested an operation on his knee injury without conducting any tests.
“But I got my knee fixed when a football physio worked on it. I myself paid all the expenses of my medical treatment in England,” the batsman added.
Following Umar’s press conference, Arthur denied that he had abused the batsman, but the coach confirmed that he chastised Akmal for using facilities at the NCA.
“Umar wanted to use the services of [batting coach] Grant Flower for batting. I told him he must first earn the right to go and play club cricket since he is not under PCB [central] contract anymore,” Arthur said in an interview.
“He needs to prove himself before he uses our support staff,” the South Africa-born head coach added.
Arthur said he didn’t stop Umar from using NCA but only stopped him from using the services of the coaching staff.
“I never stopped him [Umar] from using the academy, told him not to use services of our support staff until he earns the right,” Arthur revealed.
“Umar cannot expect that the support staff, who are for contracted players, are at his beck and call. Nobody there should be taken for granted,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said a ban had been imposed on Akmal for three months. However, the ban has been imposed for three matches. The error is regretted.