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Pakistan's Akmal eligible to play after ban is reduced

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Pakistan's Akmal hits a boundary during their first Twenty 20 cricket match against Sri Lanka in Colombo

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is eligible to play competitive cricket after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) reduced his ban for breaching the Pakistan Cricket Board's Anti-Corruption code, the board said on Friday.

The middle-order batsman was suspended in February last year for failing to report approaches to him to engage in corrupt practices before the 2020 Pakistan Super League competition.

He was initially banned for three years but an independent adjudicator halved the ban following an appeal by the player.

The CAS has now reduced the ban to 12 months but asked the 30-year-old to pay a $27,000 fine and complete a rehabilitation programme under the board's anti-corruption code, the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.

"I am ready and excited to play cricket again," Akmal told reporters. "It was tough being out and sitting at home with my bread and butter taken away."

Asked about his chances of playing for Pakistan again, Akmal said: "It's my job to play cricket and perform and it's up to them if they want to give me a chance."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi, editing by Timothy Heritage)