Lahore, July 7: Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has apologised for not reporting corrupt approaches last year, for which the 31-year-old was banned for 12 months.
"Seventeen months ago, I made a mistake which caused damage to my cricket and career. I learnt a lot during this time and due to that mistake Pakistan cricket's reputation suffered badly. I ask for forgiveness from the PCB and from cricket fans around the world," said Akmal in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday. Akmal admitted that the period had been "very difficult for him".
"Some people approached me but I was unable to report the same to the anti-corruption unit, due to which I had to face a 12-month ban. I couldn't play cricket despite being a cricketer. I learned a lot during this time and today I confess before all of you that that mistake brought disrepute to Pakistan Cricket."
Umar Akmal's statement via PCB
Part of Rehab Program & major step for his return to Cricket pic.twitter.com/7tAGBtX7pf
— Abdul Ghaffar (Replay, Dawn News) (@GhaffarDawnNews) July 7, 2021
The right-handed batsman was banned in February 2020 for failure to report approaches related to fixing just before the start of fifth season of Pakistan Super League. After apologies to his family, PCB and cricket fans, Akmal had a message for cricketers.
"I, Umar Akmal, would like to request all of you, as ambassadors of the sport, to stay away from any suspicious activities. If any suspicious individuals approach you, please report it to the anti-corruption unit in a timely manner so that your record and career remain clean."
In April 2020, the PCB's Disciplinary Panel had found Akmal guilty of two breaches of Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruption code. On account of this, he was handed a three-year ban. In July, on Akmal's appeal, an independent adjudicator brought down the period to 18 months.
In February this year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced the ban to 12 months and reduced the fine from 12 million to 4.5 million Pak rupees.
Akmal will now be eligible to return to the game after completing a rehabilitation programme by PCB. His last appearance for Pakistan was in November 2019.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 08, 2021 12:20 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).