LAHORE: Controversial Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has paid the hefty fine of Rs.4.5 million to the Pakistan Cricket Board, making himself eligible to join the anti-corruption rehabilitation programme of the PCB. Umar was banned for 18 months by the PCB for breaching its anti-corruption code. The Court of Arbitration of Sport had reduced his ban to 12 months but directed him to pay the fine. According to reports, Umar might not be able to return to competitive action immediately despite paying the fine. Since Umar had already served the 12-month ban after being suspended from February 2020, he was eligible to return to cricket after paying the fine. “Umar has deposited the full amount of 4.5 million rupees with the PCB which means he is now eligible to start the anti-corruption rehab programme of the PCB,” a source was quoted as saying. “But practically it will take some time before Umar can resume his cricket career as his rehab programme will take some time since the anti-corruption unit of the PCB is presently busy with the Pakistan Super League matches to be held in Abu Dhabi next month,” the source added.Earlier the PCB had rejected Umar’s request that he be allowed to pay Rs.4.5 million fine in installments to pave the way for him to return to cricket after serving for breaching clauses of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code. Umar had pleaded with the board in an application that due to the imposed ban, he was not in a financially strong position and be allowed to pay the fine installments. But the PCB rejected Umar’s request and directed him to pay the full fine or he would not be able to start his rehabilitation programme as per the Anti-Corruption Code. Umar, who turned 31 this month, last appeared in a T20 series at Lahore against Sri Lanka while his last Test appearance for his country was way back in late 2011 while his last ODI series was in March-April 2019 against Australia. Even elder brother Kamran had offered to pay the fine to the PCB.