A Pakistan court has lifted the life ban imposed on Saleem Malik, the former Pakistan captain, for his involvement in match-fixing. Malik, 45, is now free to involve himself in cricketing activities and he spoke of plans to start a cricket academy.
"I have served cricket for 19 years and today I feel vindicated," Malik said outside a sessions court in Lahore on Thursday. ""I hope that talk of fixing never haunts cricket. Cricket is a pure game and is played by some nice and passionate players."
"Nothing can compensate the last eight years as I had to sever all contacts with cricket. But I am now definitely looking ahead to renewing my links with the game by starting my own cricket academy for youngsters and will soon begin the project."
The Pakistan Cricket Board banned Malik in 2000 after an inquiry commission led by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum found him guilty of bribing Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh to lose the 1994-95 Karachi Test.
Warne and Waugh have always strenuously denied accepting money from him. Malik, who maintained his innocence, appealed the next year. After his appeal was rejected, he approached the Supreme Court which, on May 22, 2008, said the appeal should be heard at a lower court.
The case came before civil judge Malik Mohammad Altaf who was originally due to hear it last month but adjourned the hearing as he was unavailable.
The PCB said it would respect the ruling. "We will honour the decision of the sessions court and will not appeal against the ruling," its legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told AP. "The PCB did not impose the ban. We just implemented the recommendations of the inquiry tribunal."