x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

'Sorry' Ali has his ban cut in half

Banned for misconduct against an umpire, the former UAE captain will return six months early after apologising for his actions.

ABU DHABI // Saqib Ali, the former captain of the UAE cricket team who was banned for a year after throwing the bails at an umpire, is to return to the game six months early after apologising for his actions. Ali, 31, was banned from all competitive cricket for 12 months by the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council (ADCC) who found him guilty of an attempted assault on umpire Mohammed Asif during the United Bank Limited Twenty20 semi-final at the Zayed Stadium in June. He was playing for UAE Exchange against Yogi Group at the time.

However, Ali has now been allowed to join the UAE's tour of Namibia for the Inter-Continental Shield from December 5-8 after saying sorry and giving a guarantee that he will behave in the future. "I not only appealed the ban but apologised and took an undertaking in writing that I will not bring the game into disrepute again," said Saqib. "It was really hard for me to stay out of cricket for nearly six months, particularly when I was watching the UAE knowing I could have played for them in the ACC Twenty 20 trophy.

"It was a punishment from which I have learned a lot." The Pakistan-born player had a heated argument with Asif and then grabbed the bails and threw them at the official. The bails inadvertently hit a teammate, before Ali was hauled away by other players. After an inquiry the ADCC suspended Saqib. Dilawar Mani, the chief executive of the Emirates Cricket Board, said the ADCC had shown leniency shown towards him due to his repentance.

"The council who banned him for a year have been generous to lift the ban," said Mani. "Now it is up to Saqib to make the best use of the opportunity. It is his responsibility not to repeat the mistake and I wish him well now he has been recalled." @Email:apassela@thenational.ae