As a court battle with the country’s cricket board currently underway, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is also expected to be ruled out of the upcoming eight-team National Twenty20 Championship.
Afridi, who announced his international retirement conditioned on the removal of the current Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) set-up, is also doubtful of honouring his commitment with Hampshire after his NOC was revoked and his central contract suspended.
With less than two weeks remaining in the national tournament, the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) is now looking for the all-rounder’s replacement. Afridi, whose central contract’s suspension does not bar him from playing national tournaments, was set to lead Karachi Dolphins but a legal battle and an ongoing dispute with the PCB is likely to hold him back from playing the Twenty20 championship.
The KCCA had complained of PCB’s stance against Afridi, terming it ‘rigid and getting out of control’ and in a letter, a copy of which is with The Express Tribune, also wrote that an internal disciplinary hearing will not solve the issue.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation,” KCCA President Sirajul Bukhari told The Express Tribune. “We understand that he might not be part of the Karachi team now, but the KCCA will still ask the PCB about his participation in the tournament.”
With Afridi pulling out from the Twenty20 championship, Fawad Alam and Mohammad Sami are the top contenders to replace Afridi as captain.
Meanwhile, the PCB has promised a fair solution to the ongoing dispute.
“The PCB never wanted the matter to become personal,” said a PCB official. “Afridi blew things out of proportion. But we are following a process and as regards with the apprehension on the disciplinary committee, I don’t understand why he is not ready to face it. He went through a similar process last year after the Australia tour and didn’t object at that stage.”
Intikhab due to meet PCB
Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam, whose tour report is widely acknowledged to be the reason behind the removal of Afridi as captain, was scheduled to return late last night and due to meet the PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt.
Alam, who submitted a preliminary report on the West Indies tour, is now expected to give a detailed account.
Alam was labelled as a ‘hypocite’ by Afridi in an emotional outburst in front of the media after the team manager criticised the all-rounder’s leadership skills in the report. Coach Waqar Younis pointed out drawbacks in Afridi’s captaincy and also blamed him for the defeats in the last two matches against West Indies with Alam backing those views.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2011.
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