KARACHI: Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal's (pix) 18-month ban over corruption charges has been reduced to a year, the Court of Arbitration for Sports said Friday.
The verdict from the Lausanne-based body will likely come as a relief for the troubled batsman, who has a history of disciplinary issues that have earned him a string of fines and bans during his career.
But the court also hit him with a hefty fine of US$26,854 over his breaching of the Anti-Corruption Code.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) disciplinary committee banned Akmal for three years last April after he failed to report details of a match-fixing approach made to him during meetings with alleged bookies.
The ban was later reduced to 18 months by an independent adjudicator.
Pakistan cricket authorities hoping for a further reduction have filed an additional appeal over the case to the CAS.
"It's a big relief for Umar," the cricketer's brother Kamran told AFP.
"He wants to play cricket and return to the field."
The PCB said he would be eligible to compete again after completing a rehabilitation programme.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Akmal said he was ready to play again.
"I am fully ready and excited to play cricket again," he said. "It was tough being out and sitting at home with my bread and butter taken away.
"I don't want to comment on my national selection. It's my job to play cricket and perform and it's up to them (the selectors) - if they think it's better for the country [to include me], then they will definitely give a chance."
Akmal emerged on the international cricket scene with a hundred in his first Test in New Zealand in 2009.
He has so far played 16 Tests, 121 one-day internationals, as well as 84 Twenty20 internationals.
But his career has been plagued by disciplinary problems, including an arrest after scuffling with a traffic warden in 2014.
The batsman was also sent home after he failed a fitness test ahead of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England and has been hit with various fines over the years. – AFP