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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Afridi remains under PCB’s ‘hawk eye’

While Shahid Afridi seeks a fresh start in the ongoing county season, the former captain will remain under the scanner of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which will not hesitate in taking further action against the retired all-rounder in case of ‘foul play’, according to a PCB official.
Afridi, after a long stand-off with the PCB that also involved a legal battle, finally left for England to play for Hampshire after getting his NOC back.
The all-rounder – currently focusing on foreign leagues in the aftermath of his retirement from international cricket – was confident of getting the board’s permission for tournaments like next month’s Sri Lanka Premier League.
However, a PCB official warned that Afridi should not take things for granted.
“Afridi is still being monitored closely,” the official told The Express Tribune.
“The board is keeping a hawk eye on his interviews. Any harsh statement against the board may lead him to trouble again.
“He will have to apply for NOCs for other tournaments again and any foul play will surely block his participation.
“The PCB still has the right to take action against him and block his participation in foreign leagues.
“Legally, the board can take action against a player within 12 months after the suspension of the central contract.”
Afridi had to return from England after the board revoked his NOC for county cricket, following the 31-year-old’s retirement decision and statements against the board. The all-rounder had to face a fine of Rs4.5 million to get his NOC back, even after the out-of-court settlement.
‘I still have zeal to play for Pakistan’
Meanwhile, Afridi insisted that playing for the country always remained his top priority.
“Representing Pakistan has always been my top priority,” the flamboyant all-rounder said before leaving for England yesterday.
“I still have the zeal and energy to play for Pakistan.
“I will make a comeback to the national team when the situation improves,” said the cricketer, who had earlier retired saying he will not play under the current PCB set-up led by Chairman Ijaz Butt.
However, the former captain said he was happy to return to cricket.
“The positive thing is that I am returning to cricket after weeks of tension, which is a good sign.
“Currently my all-out focus would be on performing for my county.”
Afridi is likely to play his first county match for Hampshire this season in a Friends Life T20 game against Essex today.
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