LAHORE: Discarded Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal in a video tape has admitted his mistake of not informing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) about contact of some suspect persons made with him well on time, as his rehabilitation process, a roadmap under which the cricketer can make a comeback in the Pakistan team, started on Wednesday.

“17 months before in 2020 I made such a mistake which hit my career and cricket, both were damaged. My mistake was that some people approached me, and I could not inform the PCB well on time as I faced 12-month suspension. Despite being a cricketer I could not play cricket and it was very hard for me to pass this period. During this period I learnt a lot from my mistake and today I am confessing before all of you that due to my mistake Pakistan cricket was defamed. For it I beg apology from my family, the PCB and my fans all over the world,” the 31-year-old Umar, who has played 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20 Internationals, said in a video tape released by the PCB.

“I, Umar Akmal, ask that you all are ambassadors of the country and cricket and you should keep yourself at distance from all suspicious activities. If any suspect person approaches you should immediately inform the anti-corruption unit of the PCB, so that your cricket and character keep clean,” the right-handed batsman concluded.

It may be mentioned here that first Umar, who last represented Pakistan in a T20 in October 2019, fought the case at every forum and even he appealed before the World Sports Arbitration court, which though reduced the ban from 18 months to 12 months but heavy fine of Rs42,50,000 was retained. Originally, the PCB had banned him for three years under the clause of 4.2.2 but the appellate tribunal reduced it to 18 months.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2021

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