Court rules in Afridi's favour, suspends hearing

Afridi contends he has been punished already without a hearing and hence bias by the board while coach Waqar's tour report exposes differences with the captain.

Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi leaves after filing a petition at the Sindh High Court in Karachi on June 7, 2011.  Suspended Pakistan cricket star Shahid Afridi on June 7 filed a petition in court against sanctions imposed on him by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), his lawyer said. The move comes after Afridi announced his retirement from international cricket to protest against being replaced as one-day captain in May 2011. AFP PHOTO/ RIZWAN TABASSUM
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ISLAMABAD // The Pakistan Cricket Board's disciplinary committee proceedings against retired captain Shahid Afridi have been suspended by a court, a lawyer for the player said.

Afridi filed a petition at the Sindh High Court today, protesting against the PCB's decision to suspend his central contract and revoke his No Objection Certificates, which prevented him from playing abroad.

The PCB's disciplinary committee hearing was due to begin in Lahore tomorrow.

"The court has suspended the hearing and the PCB is bound to abide by the High Court," Afridi's lawyer Syed Ali Zafar told The Associated Press over the telephone.

Zafar had argued on Monday that Afridi would boycott the hearing because the PCB panel had already punished him without giving him the opportunity to defend himself.

PCB officials have been summoned to appear before the Sindh High Court on Thursday. PCB chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told reporters in Lahore that the board will be represented by its lawyers.

"We will honor the orders of Sindh High Court," Ahmed said. "Our lawyers will appear before the court and we will accept whatever the court decides."

Afridi's differences with the PCB began soon after the tour of West Indies last month when he criticized team management for interfering. He subsequently was removed as captain for the two-match series against Ireland.

Afridi quit international cricket in protest, criticising the PCB officials, and said he would only resume his international career if the PCB was overhauled.

The PCB responded by suspending Afridi's central contract and revoking the No Objection Certificate that he needs to play for any team abroad.

Afridi led Pakistan to the World Cup semifinals in March but cracks emerged in the relationship between captain and team management on his return from April's tour to the West Indies.

Pakistan won the first three one-day internationals to claim the series, but lost the last two.

Coach Waqar Younis' thoughts on Afridi were revealed on Tuesday when the Daily Dawn newspaper published the tour report from the trip to West Indies.

"As a captain I feel he (Afridi) is still very immature, has poor discipline, lacks game plan and is unwilling to listen to others' opinion or advice," Waqar was quoted as saying. "... sometimes his volatile and immature nature have proved detrimental and led to unfortunate outcomes including game losses."

Waqar said Afridi was unwilling to discuss the playing XI before the last two matches and came to team meetings with a "decisive mindset."

"I, as a part of the touring selection committee, tried to discuss different options for the team but he behaved very inappropriately and walked out of the meeting," Waqar wrote in the report.

Waqar said manager Intikhab Alam always tried to resolve issues with Afridi, "but his (Afridi) attitude and unwillingness to sort out matters led to a very uncomfortable dressing room environment which affected the players' performance."

Alam, in his report, said that the coach and captain did not get along well and Afridi did not consult the coach, "especially when to take batting powerplay or change the batting order."

"As a matter of fact Shahid Afridi is a highly hyperactive personality who lacks temperament," Alam said.

Alam had also advised Afridi not to speak to the media on his return home and if he had any issues with the coach or anybody else, he should talk directly to the chairman.