Shoaib Akhtar said he had been "victimised" by the
country's cricket authorities [AFP] 
Pakistan's cricket board has launched a $3.2 million defamation action against paceman Shoaib Akhtar on Thursday, two days after it banned him for five years for indiscipline.

Akhtar reacted to the ban by accusing PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf of trying to extort money from him and other players in the national team.

A notice served to the fast bowler by a lawyer said the allegations were not only baseless, "but malicious and made solely to character assassinate our client."

The notice said Akhtar should retract his comments, apologise to Ashraf and pay damages for defaming Ashraf and the rest "sullying the name of the PCB and the Pakistan cricket team.''

Akhtar had said he will appeal against the ban, which threatens to end the 32-year-old bowler's international career.

In further bad news for Akhtar, he will not be allowed to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition until his Pakistan ban ends or is overturned.

Initially it was thought Akhtar could play in the new league beginning this month, but IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said that a "big discussion on Akhtar has taken place'' and ruled against his involvement.

"The decision of the governing council was very simple that Akhtar has been banned for a period of five years, he has appealed ... and until the time he is cleared the governing council will not be allowing Akhtar in the IPL,'' Modi told reporters in India.

Should the PCB appeals committee overturn the ban, Akhtar will be permitted to take his place with the Calcutta franchise, which bought his contract for $450,000 per season at the IPL player auction.

The Calcutta franchise is owned by Bollywood film actor Shahrukh Khan and captained by India's Sourav Ganguly.

"So if his appeal is upheld he will be taken into the IPL,'' Modi said.