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Friday, June 3, 2011

Shahid Afridi calls in lawyers for county permission

kARACHI: Former captain Shahid Afridi has called in the lawyers in a bid to secure permission to play county cricket in England that was denied amid a public slanging match, an official said Friday.

“We have received a letter from legal firm Mandviwalla and Zafar Associates on behalf of Afridi and as per the rules we forwarded it to the disciplinary committee,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar.

Sources close to Afridi said the letter was not a legal notice as such but sought permission for him to play county cricket.

The PCB revoked all No-Objection Certificates issued to Afridi to play abroad, stopping him from playing for Hampshire in the Twenty20 league in England.

The PCB also suspended his central contract and salary, asking Afridi to appear before a three-man disciplinary committee on June 8.

Afridi was punished for violating the players’ code of conduct in announcing his retirement from international cricket and levelling allegations of mistreatment at the PCB.

Afridi has since confessed to breaching the code of conduct and the letter Friday outlined his contributions during his 15-year career.

“Afridi is a national hero and has been revered throughout his career, which started as a 16-year-old boy,” said a copy of the letter seen by AFP.

“It was in recognition of his services that Afridi was made captain of the team last year and he guided Pakistan to the World Cup 2011 semi-final,” said the letter.

“Revoking all his NOCs is an attempt to restrain him from financial gains. Afridi should be allowed to play county cricket,” it added.

He had been sacked as one-day captain last month after publicly criticising coach Waqar Younis for allegedly inappropriate meddling in team selection.

Afridi has also received political support from Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sports Minister Shaukatullah Khan promising to help.

Local media reports said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have asked the sports ministry to submit an independent report on the affair.

PCB, Afridi head for final showdown

Board revokes NOC, all-rounder’s county and SL league participation put in doubt. ILLUSTRATION-ANAM HALEEM
LAHORE:  Shahid Afridi’s cricket future took a turn for the worst as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) launched a disciplinary action against the former captain and also revoked all NOCs handed out to him that places his county stint and involvement with the Sri Lanka Premier League in doubt.
While suspending his central contract, the PCB has also given him seven days to explain the comments made on-air against the board on a private TV channel.
Afridi, on Monday night, surprised the nation when he announced his retirement from international cricket due to the harsh treatment meted out to him by the board. He was replaced as One-Day International captain for the series against Ireland which he skipped due to his father’s illness.
Angry reaction by the PCB
The PCB responded angrily to the comments by launching the inquiry against Afridi who arrived in England for his short stint with Hampshire. According to the PCB, the announcement of retirement itself, if not made to the board first, is a breach of the code of conduct.
The Express Tribune understands that the PCB has a strong case against Afridi and has a detailed charge-sheet against his actions. Afridi, in the past, has violated various terms of his contract but each time the PCB has pardoned him after assurance that he will not be repeating those mistakes.
“The PCB welcomes his retirement decision,” PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters. “But he has breached the code of conduct and has to give a reply for that. It was disappointing to hear what he said but this is something he decided on his own.”
The implication of the PCB stance will prevent Afridi from participating in the Sri Lanka league starting from July while his stint with Hampshire is also in jeopardy with the PCB informing both sets of officials about the NOC.
Criticism galore for the all-rounder
Afridi’s sudden decision has received mixed response from former cricketers and administrators. Majority, though, agree that it was a hasty decision, taken in bad taste and that the all-rounder ‘should be punished’.
“I don’t understand why he needed to do this,” said former captain Zaheer Abbas.
“He is the same Afridi who was backed by the current setup on various occasions and today he is blaming the board.
“He has forgotten that it was the board that supported and backed him during the ball-tampering incident in Australia and even when he didn’t perform.
“Even after Pakistan lost the World Cup semi-final, the board not only rewarded him but gave him a lot of respect. If he had issues, he should’ve talked to the PCB instead of bursting out in media.
“The sort of language he has used while announcing his retirement is unacceptable at any level. There is no excuse for him to behave this way.”
Unacceptable how he went: Inzamam
Former captain Inzamamul Haq was unsurprised by Afridi’s decision, saying it was not a new thing but was left disappointed by the way it was announced.
“I always expect from Afridi to play good cricket but this is an unacceptable way to end everything. To me this is not a new thing, our players always muddle up with the cricket board which is very unfortunate.”
Former leg-spinner and chief selector Abdul Qadir also slammed Afridi for making a mockery of the word retirement.
“Nowadays, it has become a joke to announce your retirement,” said Qadir. “Our players are doing it regularly and backing out which causes embarrassment to Pakistan cricket.”
Inzamamul Haq
“I always expected Afridi to play good cricket but this is an unacceptable way to end everything. This is not a new thing, our players always have this thing against the cricket board which is very unfortunate.”
Rashid Latif
“Afridi’s decision to retire, after people like Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf left, should be treated as a serious issue and I demand the Pakistan government to form a committee and solve this.”
Wasim Akram
“It is sad and will hurt Pakistan cricket badly. Just last month, Afridi was showered with praise, given cash awards and suddenly this happened. Not even the best doctors have a treatment for Pakistan cricket.”
Moin Khan
“This is a mistake of the PCB administration. Afridi never took any names while he criticised the policies and the board took note of that. Why isn’t anyone in the government taking notice of PCB’s actions in last three years.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

‘Afridi didn’t need to raise hell’

Pakistan coach Waqar expressed that he was taken back by Afridi’s decision while he was not in the country and he came to know of the developments in the dreadful matter through the media. PHOTO: FILE AFP
LAHORE:  While admitting to having conflicts with former captain Shahid Afridi, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis expressed his surprise over how the all-rounder had ‘raised hell’ while announcing his retirement.
Afridi announced his international retirement protesting the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) decision to remove him from One-Day International captaincy as well as the treatment meted out to him. Waqar expressed his disappointment with the announcement and termed it an unfortunate episode.
“When you spend a lot of time together, differences do emerge and views might conflict to some extent but that doesn’t mean you raise hell,” said Waqar while talking to reporters at Gaddafi Stadium after submitting the tour report. “The whole episode is very unfortunate and I’m very disappointed because Pakistan cricket was heading up.”
Waqar said he had a positive and productive meeting with the PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt in which he submitted his report on the tour of West Indies.
“To be a Pakistan coach is a tough job and criticism comes your way regularly. One must also be ready for it. Being a coach, if the team performs well, I get credit and in case of its failure, I get the blame as well.”
Afridi’s removal from captaincy was reportedly because of him lashing out against the team management, notably Waqar for ‘interfering too much’. However, Waqar appeared reluctant to comment on Afridi’s comments but did believe that the all-rounder was improving.
“I was obviously happy with his captaincy as he was improving but I don’t want to comment further. I have handed my report to the chairman. As a coach, I have my own domain and I know my job description. I never interfered with Afridi’s job or in the selection affairs. His statement that the coach intervened comes as a surprise and I fail to understand why he said such a thing.”
PCB forms disciplinary committee
Meanwhile, in response to the reply sent by Afridi to the PCB’s charge-sheet, the board has formed a three-member committee to look into the conflict.
The committee is made up of Sultan Rana (Director Domestic Cricket), Shafiq Ahmed (GM Domestic Cricket) and Usman Wahla (Manager International Cricket) and has asked Afridi to appear before them on Wednesday.
Commenting on the letter sent to Afridi today, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad said, “It is painful for us to get involved in a dispute with a cricketer who has been the national team captain until the West Indies series.”
He lauded Afridi’s contribution to Pakistan cricket but emphasised on the need to maintain strict discipline in the team.
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