LAHORE - Pakistan’s sacked captain Shahid Afridi is using all his resources and influence in the political circles to put pressure on the Pakistan Cricket Board to get his position back in the team. Sources told Pakistan Today that the PCB top officials including the chairman and chief operating officer of the board are being threatened of dire consequences from certain quarters for the reinstatement of Shahid Afridi.
The war between the PCB and Afridi has rather become a matter of pride for the former captain who is trying his utmost to win his place back in the team. Meanwhile, Afridi met Bilawal Zardari in London yesterday pleading him to ask his father President Asif Ali Zardari, who was also PCB chief patron to intervene and get him back as captain of the team. However, reports said that the PCB took the action on the directives of the government officials who were also fed up of giving cover to his habitual offender.
The PCB also has noted with concern that it will not come under any sort of pressure and the trial against Afridi will be held according to the book and on the planned date. The PCB noted with great concern that an internal disciplinary action against Shahid Afridi was being converted into a political issue. An official of the board said, “A number of political functionaries are interfering in what is essentially an internal disciplinary matter of the PCB.” The PCB held Afridi liable for a number of violations for the code of conduct and had formed a committee to meet on June 8, to proceed with a disciplinary hearing.
“Despite the extremely irresponsible attitude and inflammatory statements of Afridi, the PCB reiterates that he will be given every opportunity to state his position and make his case in front of the Disciplinary Committee,” the official said. Chairman PCB Ijaz Butt said, “It is disappointing that despite Afridi has pleaded guilty to the offenses, some political functionaries are extending their support with a view to influencing the disciplinary process being followed by PCB.”
“An understanding needed to be developed amongst all stakeholders, media and the politicians that no one is above the law and for maintaining discipline within the team, it is absolutely imperative that we carry out of this process without any fear or favour,” he added. Butt further said, “The PCB has been criticised for being ineffective in the past in the context of discipline. It would now appear an attempt by some forces to prevent the Board from implementing the code of conduct and their act may well damage Pakistan Cricket, if they continue to lend support to Afridi and exert undue pressure on PCB for their ‘non-cricketing’ interests.”