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Shoaib Akhtar has been banned for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), effectively ending the fast bowler’s international career unless he wins an appeal. The PCB lost patience with Shoaib after he criticised the body for not offering him one of the top central contracts.

While his latest transgression seems relatively innocuous compared with earlier antics, such as attacking Mohammad Asif, his Pakistan teammate, with a cricket bat, the PCB spoke of “drawing a line in the sand”.

The 32-year-old was already serving a two-year probationary period and a 13-match ban for assaulting Asif in the run-up to the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa last year. Shoaib and Asif were banned in 2006 after testing positive for nandrolone, the banned anabolic steroid, before they were cleared on appeal two months later.

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