PCB IMPOSES HEAVY PENALTIES ON AFRIDI, ZULQARNAIN

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

June 20 - 26, 2011

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) disciplinary committee imposed a fine of Rs4.5 million and Rs500,000 on former skipper Shahid Afridi and former wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, respectively.

Shahid Afridi appeared before PCB disciplinary committee on June 16 that imposed a hefty fine of Rs4.5 million on him for violating code of conduct and on accepting decision, his no-objections certificates to play cricket abroad were restored.

"The PCB disciplinary committee unanimously decided to fine him Rs4.5 million for various breaches of the code of conduct and it also recommended restoration of Afridi's NOCs to play abroad. Pakistan Cricket Board has endorsed the decision."

PCB legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi said Afridi pleaded guilty to the charge leveled against him by the PCB for violating code of conducts by coming up harsh through his media statements on PCB and team management and selectors as well.

The former captain did not decide to contest the allegations and appeared before the committee alone. "The committee took into consideration the fact that since Afridi did not contest the allegations he was given a soft punishment otherwise a severe punishment could have been given to him," Rizvi said. The restoration of no-objection certificates has cleared his participation in domestic Twenty20 tournaments around the world.

After decision of the committee, Afridi said: "I have accepted the verdict of the disciplinary committee and I am not in a mood to play international cricket," adding: "My decision to retire from international cricket remained unchanged."

Afridi pleaded guilty to the charge but he did not apologize during the hearing and said he regretted for his act of indiscipline. The committee appreciated Afridi for recognizing his indiscretion and is treating the same as a mitigating circumstance.

On May 31, Pakistan Cricket Board announced an action being initiated against Afridi for breaches he has committed under the central contract signed with PCB. He breached Clause 2.1.4 of the central contract by announcing his retirement in the manner he did and Clause 4.4 by passing disparaging remarks about the board and its officials. He was issued a show cause notice and his central contract was suspended. Consequently, all NOCs granted to him were revoked.

On June 2, after receiving response from Afridi on PCB's Show Cause Notice in which he admitted the breach of Code of Conduct, Pakistan Cricket Board formulated a disciplinary committee consisting Sultan Rana (Director Domestic Cricket), Shafiq Ahmed (GM Domestic Cricket) and Usman Wahla (Manager International Cricket) and laid down the process of disciplinary proceedings in accordance with PCB constitution. Afridi was asked to appear before the committee on June 8.

Afridi filed a constitutional petition against the establishment of the committee in Sindh High Court and the court stopped the committee proceedings. On June 15 PCB was informed by Afridi that the constitutional petition filed by him before the Sindh High Court has been dismissed as withdrawn. Therefore, in continuation of the procedure that had been postponed as per court orders, PCB directed him to appear in person before the disciplinary committee.

Former wicketkeeper of Pakistan cricket team Zulqarnain Haider who appeared before the disciplinary committee on June 17, was imposed a fine of Rs500,000 for violating PCB's code of conduct when he flew to London in November 2010, during Pak-South Africa series in the UAE, without informing the team management.

Zulqarnain Haider Friday appeared before the PCB disciplinary committee at National Cricket Academy Lahore and admitted his mistake.

After the two-hour hearing, the PCB's disciplinary committee head Sultan Rana, said apart from the fine, Haider will also be put under probation. He added that Haider's father is cancer patient; therefore, relatively less amount of Rs500,000 has been imposed. Sultan said: "Zulqarnain will be under a one-year probation period, during which his conduct will be observed," he said.

Talking to media after hearing, Zulqarnain Haider said he accepted before the committee that his decision to flee from Dubai was a mistake. "I did what I thought was right at that time. With the passage of time I realized that I committed a mistake. I should have informed the PCB and my seniors."

He said he is looking forward to resume his career. "I just want to play cricket. All depends on the selection committee, whether they pick me for the national cricket team or not," he said. He admitted his mistake and also withdrew accusations leveled against the PCB.

It may be recalled that the PCB had set up the disciplinary committee in May to look into Haider's response to a letter the board sent to the wicketkeeper on December 6, 2010 asking him to explain why he left Dubai hours before the 5th ODI against South Africa last November. Haider claimed that he was threatened by match-fixers. Haider had filed an application for asylum in the UK and also announced his retirement from international cricket. However, he withdrew his application for asylum and returned to Pakistan in April this year, after receiving assurances from the interior minister Rehman Malik.