The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is set to attend the Sindh High Court (SHC) hearing today with its lawyers geared up to face former captain Shahid Afridi’s legal counsel.
The PCB, which planned to hold an internal disciplinary hearing against Afridi, suffered a slight setback when the SHC granted a stay against the board’s proceedings. The order came after the all-rounder filed a petition challenging the validity of the board’s actions and the sanctions imposed on him.
“After receiving that order we are even clearer of our stance,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune. “The court has been misguided about the policy and there is nothing illegal about it.
“We have proper proof and will go all out to defend our case.”
Syed Ali Zafar, Afridi’s lawyer, had termed the PCB’s move to hold the hearing as illegal and had called for an independent disciplinary committee to look into the matter.
Zaheer, Imran lash out at row
Meanwhile, former captain Zaheer Abbas lashed out at the ongoing row while the legendary Imran Khan said that the stand-off is akin to a ‘suicide attack’ that could sink cricket into deeper turmoil.
The PCB suspended Afridi’s contract and revoked his NOC to play county cricket after the all-rounder announced his retirement citing unfair treatment by the board. The matter was soon taken to court with both parties due to appear before the SHC today.
The all-rounder had earlier been vocal about undue meddling in team selection during Pakistan’s tour of West Indies last month with reports of a possible rift with coach Waqar Younis. However, in the tour report written by the coach, Waqar has been been critical of Afridi, saying that “as a captain he is very immature, has poor discipline, lacks a gameplan and is unwilling to listen.” Zaheer rued the fact that a seemingly minor issue had been allowed to fester for so long.
“It’s very unfortunate that this dispute has ended up in court,” said Zaheer. “It’s just a minor issue but has been blown out of proportion. PCB just wants the player to be disciplined.”
Zaheer believed that whenever the PCB tried to get strict on discipline, the public was quick to brand it as the villain.
“Discipline definitely is an important aspect but in Pakistan cricket once the board gets strict on discipline, it is treated as a villain,” he said.
The legendary Imran also felt that the dispute was extremely damaging for the game in the country.
“This case is a suicide attack on Pakistan cricket,” he said. “I don’t know why Pakistan keeps doing it. This is extremely damaging for the game in a country already reeling from problems.”
Imran blamed the stand-off on the lack of accountability in the PCB, which gave rise to instability. “There is no institutionalism in decision making and because the head of the board is appointed by the president of Pakistan he is not accountable." (With additional
reporting by Fawad Hussain)
Selector Illyas pays the price
The PCB suspended Mohammad Illyas from the selection panel after his comments aggravated the ongoing dispute with Afridi.
The former Test opener and a key member of the selection committee has been served a show-cause notice by the PCB after his comments during an interview, aired on Express News, further aggravated the ongoing dispute with Afridi. Illyas said that Afridi had been pressing hard for the selection of Ahmed Shahzad, Fawad Alam and Shahzaib Hasan and also lashed out at the former all-rounder for making false allegations against him.
“The PCB has taken a swift note of his outburst to the media, which is a direct violation of his contract with the board,” said PCB spokesman Nadeem Sarwar. “The board has suspended his contract and will form a committee to decide his fate as a selector.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2011.
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