Shoaib can take part in IPL: Lalit Modi

NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League Chairman Lalit Modi on Sunday welcomed Shoaib Akhtar in the ongoing Twenty20 tournament after a Pakistani appeal tribunal suspended the five-year ban on the maverick speedster for a month, paving way for his participation in the IPL.

“Our condition (to allow him play in IPL) was that the ban must be lifted or suspended. In that effect, Shoaib is now allowed to play in the IPL. We’ve spoken to him and he should be coming to India in the next two days,” Modi said.

The IPL chief said that he was in touch with Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Nasim Ashraf, who confirmed that the five-year ban on Shoaib had been suspended by the three-member tribunal.

Shoaib’s repeated violation of the player’s Code of Conduct had invited a five-year ban from the PCB, which not only jeopardized his IPL participation but also his entire career.

Shoaib subsequently made an appeal against the ban and realising that a final verdict may take long, the pacer made a fresh appeal on Saturday, requesting the tribunal to temporarily suspend the ban and allow him to take part in the IPL.

Modi said with the tribunal clearing the deck for Shoaib’s participation for the remainder of the IPL, the speedster was naturally happy.

“Shoaib was very happy and he is looking forward to it. He has been calling me on a daily basis. Shoaib joining the Kolkata Knight Riders squad would also add sheen to the tournament,” Modi said.

“It’s a great moment for us because he is a great asset for IPL. He has got a huge fan base in India and the Knight Riders are extremely happy. I spoke to (Knight Riders owner) Shah Rukh (Khan), he is very happy. He wanted Shoaib to come for one day at least. We are happy that Shoaib can now play for him,” Modi added.

Modi said the pacer could play the next match for the Kolkata outfit, even though it was upto the team management to take a final call on the issue.

“He’s free to play from the next match itself but it would depend on when he gets down here. The trainer and physio will check him, the coach would go through the process. So whether he would play the next match or not, it’s for the Knight Riders to decide,” Modi said.

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