The independent adjudicator of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday announced its decision on a disciplinary case involving middle-order batsman Umar Akmal and reduced his three-year ban to 18 months.
Adjudicator retired Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar conducted the hearing at the National High Performance Centre in Lahore.
The batsman had submitted an appeal against a three-year ban imposed on him by a PCB disciplinary committee in April this year in a case for failing to report to the PCB two incidents of contacts made by suspicious persons before the start of the Pakistan Super League-5 on Feb 20.
It was a mandatory requirement under Code of Conducts of the PCB Anti-corruption unit. Umar breached Article 2.4.4. of the said code for the two incidents.
“The self-incriminatory admission by the appellant both in his interview and reply to the show cause notice regarding the non-disclosure of vital information of approaches made to him about match fixing on two occasions by two different persons leaves no room for doubt as to the veracity of the charges against him," noted the Independent Adjudicator judge in his order.
“The stance taken by the appellant is self-contradictory and not credit-worthy. The case against the appellant stands proved to the hilt.
"The learned Chairman [of the Disciplinary Panel] has quite justifiably found the appellant guilty of both the charges.”
Umar's counsel Tayyab Rizvi said that they were "grateful to the independent adjudicator for granting them relief" but that the decision was "not what they had thought [it would be]".
"The punishment can be reduced further," he said.
Expressing similar sentiments, Umar said that he would "try to get the ban reduced further".
"I am not satisfied with the decision. I will decide on the next step after discussing with my lawyer and family," he added.
Since Umar — the youngest brother of former Pakistan wicket-keepers Kamran and Adnan Akmal — was banned, several former Test cricketers had claimed the three-year sentence was too harsh.