PCB suspends Umar Akmal from all cricket activities; Quetta Gladiators replace with Anwar Ali

Updated 20 Feb 2020

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Akmal was a part of the Quetta Gladiators squad, which is set to play the opening match of PSL 2020 tonight. — Dawn/File
Akmal was a part of the Quetta Gladiators squad, which is set to play the opening match of PSL 2020 tonight. — Dawn/File

The Pakistan Cricket Board on Thursday suspended Umar Akmal with immediate effect. This means Akmal cannot take part in any cricket-related activity until the PCB Anti-corruption Unit (ACU) is investigating him.

Akmal is being investigated under Article 4.7.1 of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code.

The article in question suggests that before a participant is either charged by the ACU or "there are other exceptional circumstances relevant to a participant [...] it shall have the discretion to provisionally suspend the participant pending the Anti-corruption Tribunal‟s determination of whether he/she has committed an offence."

"As this is an ongoing investigation, the PCB will not make any further comments," a press release announcing the board's decision said.

Akmal's recent misconduct

Akmal was also investigated by the PCB earlier this month for alleged misconduct. According to a report published by ESPNCricinfo, earlier this month, Akmal had exposed himself to a trainer during his fitness test out of frustration and asked him, "Where is the fat?". The player's brother, cricketer Kamran Akmal said that Umar had done it out of mischief.

The PCB, in a statement given to ESPNCricinfo said it was "fully aware of the matter and was looking into punishments in the context of bringing the game into disrepute".

The cricket board in its inquiry heard all parties concerned and concluded that the incident happened due to a "misunderstanding", a press release later issued by the board had said.

Anwar Ali replaces Akmal in the Gladiators' squad

Quetta Gladiators have replaced Akmal with Anwar Ali in the line-up for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 following the event’s technical committee’s approval.

The press release announcing Akmal's suspension had said that Quetta Gladiators are "allowed to apply for Umar Akmal’s replacement in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020."

The technical committee is chaired by PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan and it includes Bazid Khan, Marina Iqbal, Sameer Khosa and Dr Sohail Saleem.

32-year-old Ali comes in as a silver category player and has been part of the Quetta Gladiators squad in all previous editions. Ali has scored a total of 191 runs and taken 23 wickets in the 32 matches he has played in the league so far.

The Gladiators — who won the title last year — are ready to face off against two-time winners Islamabad United today in the first match of this year's instalment on HBL PSL.