Irfan hopes to play T20 against SL in Lahore

KARACHI: Giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who completed the period of his six-month PCB ban here on Thursday, is hoping that the ban will now be lifted and expressed hope to play the T20 match against Sri Lanka, set to be held in Lahore in October this year.

Irfan was suspended for one year and fined Rs1,000,000 after he admitted his failure to report approaches by bookmakers linked to spot-fixing and his central contract was suspended for six months.

The cricketer also had to provide substantial assistance to the PCB vigilance and security and had to participate in programmes of Anti-Corruption Education, which included giving lectures on anti-corruption.

The player’s central contract with PCB remained suspended and no new contract was offered to him, and it was stated that if the sportsman succeeds in following the suspension guidelines of the PCB then he will be able to play cricket after six months.

Irfan, however, expressed sadness at missing the Independence Cup matches against the World XI which would have given him opportunity to play in front of home crowds and on home turf.

The fast bowler said that the six months of the ban were the most crucial of his life and career. “I was very unlucky to have the ban at a time when international cricket was returning home and was not able to be a part of the historical match,” he said.

“Being a cricketer knowing that you cannot play cricket hurts badly. When a player is banned for which he has worked hard all his life, it really hurts especially when you see your dream match happening in front of you,” he said.

He further added that he is eyeing to make a comeback in the team before the Sri Lankan series of which the last T20 match is scheduled to be held in Lahore. “I always has a dream to play international match at my home ground in front of Pakistani fans and I am sad that when all this is happening I am not able to be part of the match,” he said.

“I have worked on my fitness for the last six months, day and night I went to my private gym and ground for training privately. I am all set to take part in the upcoming Quaid-i-Azam Trophy representing Wapda and will give my best to perform and make comeback in the national team,” he said. “I am eyeing to be part of the Sri Lanka series where the last T20 match will be played in Lahore.”

He also thanked all the people involved during his ban. “I am glad I was surrounded by such good family and friends who supported me well in these six months, but this has made me realize that how important is to inform the PCB officials about anyone contacting you for spot fixing,” he said.

Talking about the official announcement of the end of his ban, he said, “As every official of PCB is busy in the World XI series, I will be contacting them over phone and then they will give me time to meet and for the official letter after which is will be able to play cricket.”