LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday suffered a huge shock after it lost its appeal against middle order batsman Umar Akmal in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland. Umar’s 18-month ban, effective from February 20, 2020, over corruption charges has been reduced to a year. The verdict from the CAS, the Lausanne-based court, has come as a big relief for the batsman with a history of disciplinary issues that has earned him a string of fines and bans during his career. At the same time, the CAS has also hit Umar with a hefty fine of Rs.4.25 million ($26,800) over his role in the incident. Umar will have to undergo a rehabilitation programme under the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code before he could return to competitive cricket. “Umar’s reintegration is subject to the cricketer paying a fine of Rs.4.25 million and taking part in the programme of rehabilitation under the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code,” said a spokesman for the PCB on Friday. Umar last played a Test for Pakistan in late 2011 but his most recent international appearance was in October 2019 in the T20I home series against Sri Lanka. Umar has made 221 appearances for Pakistan in all formats, scoring 5,887 runs and three centuries. Initially, Umar was banned in April 2020 for three years for failing to report approaches to engage in corrupt practices ahead of last year’s Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition. The PCB Anti-Corruption Code states that a player must report being approached to fix games. Umar appealed against the ban in May 2020 and an independent adjudicator, appointed by the PCB, reduced his three years ban to 18 months in July 2020. Umar’s appeal was based on the narrative that players who had fallen foul in a similar manner to him previously were handed far lighter sanctions, with Mohammad Irfan banned in 2017 for six months, and Mohammad Nawaz given a two-month ban. But it had emerged that he had been handed the stiffer-than-expected penalty for failing to show sufficient remorse. After Umar’s ban was reduced to 18 months, the batsman and the PCB filed their separate appeals against the July 2020 verdict of the independent adjudicator. The proceedings were to be held in person in Switzerland. However, on the PCB’s request, the hearings were allowed online by the CAS. The PCB had also asked the CAS to consolidate both the appeals but the request was not entertained and turned down. Umar welcomes decision: Addressing a press conference along with his lawyers yesterday after the CAS verdict, Umar welcomed the decision. “I have never committed any wrong act and will never do the same,” he said, adding that he wanted to play cricket. He alleged that ‘some people in the PCB leak things,’ saying he had gone to the PCB to inform it that he had been approached. “If I am given the chance, I will definitely play,” Umar said in response to a question. He said he was fully ready and excited to play cricket again. “It was tough being out and sitting at home with my bread and butter taken away. I am very thankful to my family, after Allah, and everyone who stood by me and helped me return to cricket.” Umar’s lawyer claimed that “not a single piece of evidence or record exists against Umar.” He said Umar’s legal team would conduct consultation regarding the fine imposed on him. “The PCB’s appeal was rejected by the CAS and it did not get any relief from the court,” the lawyer added. Umar emerged on the international cricket scene with a hundred in his first Test in New Zealand in 2009. He has so far played 16 Tests, 121 one-day internationals, as well as 84 Twenty20 internationals. But his career has been bridled by disciplinary problems, including an arrest after scuffling with a traffic warden in 2014. He was banned for three matches in 2017 for criticising the then coach Mickey Arthur. The batsman was also sent home after he failed a fitness test ahead of ICC 2017 Champions Trophy in England and has been hit with various fines over the years.