Umar Akmal makes comeback after serving ban, named in Central Punjab side

Umar, who was recently allowed to resume playing club cricket in Lahore, was banned by the PCB last year for not reporting spot-fixing offers made to him during the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Pakistan's Umar Akmal has been named in the Central Punjab squad for the upcoming domestic season after serving a ban for not reporting spot-fixing offers during PSL. (FILE PHOTO)   -  AKHILESH KUMAR/The Hindu

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is set to play competitive cricket for the first time since February 2020 after being named in the Central Punjab squad for the upcoming domestic season.

Umar, who was recently allowed to resume playing club cricket in Lahore, was banned by the PCB last year for not reporting spot-fixing offers made to him during the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The 31-year-old had apologized for his actions and has also attended anti-corruption lectures by the PCB.

"Umar apparently has realised his mistake during this rehab program and he showed clear remorse for his actions which is good enough for us to allow him now to return to first class cricket," a PCB official said.

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The 31-year old Umar has played 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20 internationals for his country. His last appearance in an international match came in November 2019 when he played in a T20 series at home against Sri Lanka.

Before his ban in February 2020, Umar had slammed a hundred in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final for Central Punjab.

The enigmatic batsman besides serving a ban also had to pay a fine of 4.2 million rupees to the PCB for his failure to report the spot-fixing offers.

The PCB has announced six provincial squads for the domestic season with 32 players in each side set to get domestic contracts from the Board.

The Board didn't include any centrally contracted player in the squads announced this week.

Umar has been embroiled in a number of controversies and disciplinary issues since making his debut for Pakistan in 2009.

His elder brother and Test wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal said people will see a reformed version of Umar in the coming domestic season.

"We have had a lot of discussions with him as a family and he has also been reviewing things himself and he knows where he has to improve himself," Kamran said.

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The National T20, featuring country’s best shortest format players, will be held from September 25 to October 13.

Eighteen first round matches will be held in Multan, while the remaining 15 matches, including the two semi-finals and the final, will be held in Lahore.

Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will commence on October 20.

The first half of the 10-round single-league competition will be held in Multan, Faisalabad and Lahore.

The event will then move to Karachi where it will culminate with the five-day final from 29 December.

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