Former fast bowler Ata-ur-Rehman hails ban lift
by AFP


DateLine: 5th November 2006


Former Pakistan paceman Ata-ur-Rehman Sunday thanked the world cricket authorities for lifting a ban on him, saying they had given back the missing half of his life.


"Lifting the ban on me is like giving my half-life back. I am happily living my life with my wife and my daughter, but cricket was missing from it," Rehman told AFP from Manchester, England.


The International Cricket Council (ICC) Saturday revoked a life ban placed on Rehman on charges of perjury during a match fixing inquiry in May 2000.


"I was given punishment for perjury and since I wanted to play county cricket in England, I applied for the ban to be lifted. It is great news because it will allow me to resume my career, and I also want to coach," said Rehman, 31.


An ICC review committee comprising television commentator Richie Benaud, British lawyer Michael Beloff and Bangladesh's Ajmal-ul Husain considered Rehman's application and lifted the ban, allowing Rehman to be reinstated from May 1 2007.


"The ban spoiled my career, and at my age I don't see any chance to play for Pakistan, but if my country needs me I will be there anytime, anywhere," said Rehman, who last represented Pakistan in a one-dayer against England in Birmingham on August 31, 1996.


Rehman played 13 Tests and 30 one-day internationals between 1992 and 1996, claiming 31 Test and 27 one-day wickets before losing his place in an inquiry into match-fixing allegations.


During the 1999 inquiry, Rehman said former teamman Wasim Akram had offered him 300,000 rupees (around 5,000 dollars) to underbowl in a one-day match during Pakistan's 1994 tour of New Zealand.


But at a subsequent hearing he took back the allegation, saying he had been pressurised to give his earlier statement.


Lahore High Court's Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who was investigating the allegations, imposed a life ban on Rehman.


A commission appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board revoked the ban in 2003, but the player also needed clearance from the ICC.


"I have British citizenship so I am eligible to play county cricket and I still have a lot of cricket left in me, so I will definitely play," he said.


"Since I have also done coaching courses, I will also turn to it once I finish playing."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)