The Quetta Gladiators will be without batsman Umar Akmal for this year's edition of the Pakistan Super League.
Akmal has been suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board with immediate effect. The PCB, though, did not state the reason for the suspension.
PCB statement about Umar
“The Pakistan Cricket Board has suspended Akmal under article 4.7.1* of the PCB anti-corruption code, which means he cannot take part in any cricket-related activity pending the investigation being carried out by PCB's anti-corruption unit,” read a statement from the PCB.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, the PCB will not make any further comments. Meanwhile, Quetta Gladiators are allowed to apply for Umar's replacement in the Pakistan Super League 2020.”
All-rounder Anwar Ali eventually replaced Akmal in the Gladiators' squad.
The Gladiators' are the current title holders and will meet two-time champions Islamabad United in the first match of the 2020 PSL on Thursday. Quetta and Islamabad are priced at 2.00 and 1.80, respectively, by bet365 to win this match.
Akmal played 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20Is between 2009 and 2019. He is the younger brother of Kamran Akmal, who plays for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL. Kamran has the most runs in the history of the tournament, while Umar is in sixth position.
Umar, who has also represented the Lahore Qalandars, has hit 833 runs in 30 PSL innings at an average of 33.32. His tally includes seven half-centuries. Umar's most recent innings in first-class cricket yielded a double-century for Central Punjab against Northern in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Karachi late last year. His was named Player of the Match after striking 218 from 265 deliveries, which featured 20 fours and eight sixes. Central Punjab won the final by an innings and 16 runs.
His absence will leave fellow Quetta batsmen Ahmed Shehzad, Shane Watson and Jason Roy with additional responsibility. Roy performed well for England in the recent ODI and T20I series against South Africa. The Gladiators have also recruited seamers Ben Cutting and Keemo Paul, who are from Australia and the West Indies, respectively.
Watson is second only to Kamran among the PSL's top run-scorers. Watson has also played for the Gladiators – and struck 1114 runs in 37 innings at an average of 33.75. He, too, has gathered seven half-tons.