ABU DHABI // The UAE international Saqib Ali is set to miss the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 tournament and the World T20 qualifiers after being banned from playing for one year for attempting to assault an umpire during the United Bank Limited T20 tournament at the Zayed Stadium a fortnight ago. The ban was enforced by the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC) but could be enforced by all the other regional councils as well. The player can appeal against the ruling
The Emirates Cricket Board chief executive Dilawar Mani said: "If a council has banned a player or takes disciplinary action, as a matter of principle, all other regional councils will honour that decision. And we will stand by them. "But Saqib has the right to appeal. He hasn't done it so far. A lot will depend on if he wants a review of the decision. And if he appeals, another meeting can take place and review that decision.
"Saqib's selection for the UAE will depend whether he plays in the domestic tournaments. "If you don't play any cricket for one year then there is no chance of him qualifying for the selections.." Saqib is in Pakistan on vacation, and if the ban is not lifted, he will miss the two premier T20 tournaments, which the UAE will host in October and November. The ADCC general secretary Inam-ul-Haq, added: "Saqib was apologetic and admitted his misconduct on the field.
"He said that he got 'emotional' but we can't allow him to go unpunished for such a serious offence. "Saqib has captained the UAE and is a current international. He has a responsibility. We have taken this decision after a thorough investigation, and after speaking to the umpires, some of the players, the scorers and an ADCC official, who were present during the match." The Pakistan born player had a heated argument with the square leg umpire Mohammed Asif, after an appeal against batsman Naeemullah Khan for a catch behind was turned down.
Saqib responded by grabbing a bail and throwing it at Asif, which instead hit a teammate, before he was hauled away by other players in the semi-final of the tournament on June 3. The all-rounder was suspended from playing in the final a day after the incident and the following day's 35th Bukhatir League final in Sharjah. The teams that Saqib represented, the UAE Exchange Centre and the New Medical Centre, won the respective trophies without him.
Saqib has excelled with the bat and ball for the UAE, and was a key member of the ICC World Cup Qualifier in South Africa in April. He made his debut for the UAE in 2006 and scored his maiden first-class century against Scotland in Sharjah. Saqib was made captain the following year and scored 142 against Bermuda. He later led the team in the ICC Cricket League Division Two. He made his highest score of 195 out in his team's total of 306 against Ireland at the Zayed Stadium last year.