Mon, Nov 06, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Ata-ur-Rehman's life ban revoked by cricket council

AP , MUMBAI, INDIA

Ata-ur-Rehman's life ban was revoked by the International Cricket Council on Saturday and the former Pakistan Test bowler will be allowed to play from May.

Rehman, 31, and former Pakistan skipper Salim Malik were banned in 1999 by the Pakistan Cricket Board after an inquiry implicated them of involvement with illegal bookmakers in fixing international matches and performances.

"Rehman's application for reinstatement was accepted by the ICC's executive board today," ICC president Percy Sonn said.

"Rehman wanted to play league cricket in England," Sonn said. "He has been allowed to play from May next year."

Sonn added that Rehman, at 31, seemed past his prime as a Test cricketer.

He said revoking the ban did not mean the ICC had forgotten the match-fixing affair in 2000 that had tainted the game.

Sonn was the president of South Africa's cricket board six years ago. He presided over the decision by South Africa to slap a similar life ban on its captain Hansie Cronje, who later died in an air crash.

Last month, the ICC reiterated that it had zero tolerance for corruption in cricket.

Seam bowler Rehman played 13 Tests and 30 limited-over internationals for Pakistan, the last of which was in August 1996.

Playing with modest success, he claimed 31 wickets in Test matches and 27 in one-dayers.

Rehman was among those who gave evidence about the prevalence of match-fixing by his Pakistan teammates, but later retracted his comments, prompting the PCB inquiry judge to warn him against committing perjury.

Under the ICC's procedure for revoking a ban on any player, the application is first put to the world body's chief executive.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said Saturday he wasn't prepared to recommend that Rehman be reinstated.

"I considered the application in detail and wasn't prepared to recommend Rehman's reinstatement," Speed told reporters. "The process then goes upstairs to the code of conduct commission."

The code of conduct commission's chairman appointed a special inquiry panel that prepared a detailed report for the ICC executive board, which "focused on the penalty aspect of the ban."

Speed said the report didn't "look at the factual matters that were put forward by the Pakistan inquiry but just looked to see if it was appropriate to lift the life ban."

Speed said the recommendation was accepted by the ICC's executive board.

The match-fixing affair resurfaced as India's cricket officials made statements urging the revocation of the life ban on former skipper Mohammed Azharuddin.

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