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Knight Riders refuse to give up hope despite ban on Shoaib

Kolkata, June 16 : Following PCB's decision to reduce Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's five-year ban to 18 months, the speedster's IPL club 'Knight Riders' has expressed hopes that things might change till next year and he might be allowed to play once again in the League like in April-May when he was allowed to play during the first edition of the IPL.

Kolkata Knight Riders' management said there was no cause to press the panic button yet with 10 months to go for the next edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), reported The News.

"Look, he was released in a special dispension for one month in the last IPL. For the next edition, there's still 10 months left. There's no point discussing about it now. Things can change by that time," the paper quoted Knight Riders' CEO Joy Bhattacharya as saying when asked about the fast bowler's availability for the next edition.

The Appellate Tribunal of the PCB had yesterday reduced the ban imposed on the controversial pacer by 18 months and fined him for Rs 70 lakhs.

The reduced ban means Shoaib, a veteran of 46 Tests and 138 ODIs, will miss the Asia Cup, Champions Trophy and the next edition of IPL.

Earlier, on April 29 the Appellate Tribunal had agreed to allow Shoaib to play in IPL. In its interim ruling, the PCB appellate tribunal said that Akhtar could not play any match in or for Pakistan, but gave him the liberty to play anywhere else in the world.

Story first published: Monday, June 16, 2008, 11:43 [IST]
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