One more prey of Ijaz Butt-led board, Afridi boom-boom on his way out

One more prey of Ijaz Butt-led board, Afridi boom-boom on his way out

Heartthrob all-rounder and former captain Shahid Afridi’s abrupt and sentimental announcement to walk out of international cricket, albeit conditionally, has once again brought Pakistan in the news for the wrong reasons.
Going by the traditions of Pakistan cricket and the recent turn of events, the news was inevitable and somewhat expected, it still shook up fans and the media at the stroke of midnight on Monday.
While nobody will condone Afridi’s knee-jerk reaction, epitomizing his perpetual fast-forward actions — be that as batsman or as quick-ish leg-break bowler — Pakistan Cricket Board’s chairman Ijaz Butt’s whimsical decisions of replacing a successful captain were equally, if not more, lamentable.
It was Afridi who united the disintegrated Pakistan team following the spot-fixing scandal last year. He had started to own the team, guiding them to a semi-final finish at the ICC World Cup — an expected result in the eyes most of the experts, given the distorted and unpredictable team.
Former captain Wasim Akram was shocked at Afridi’s latest action. “I believe it’s a childish decision. Had he contacted me I would have told him to play as a member.”
Akram was one the most vocal opponents when Afridi was sacked as captain.
“I am also shocked at how fast things have changed. I think it has become a matter of egos from both the sides. Last month, Afridi was showered with praise, his team was awarded cash prizes but suddenly every thing changed.”
So what prompted this sudden change? One could say that with Afridi, everything happens at lightening speed but the Pathan from the tribal regions of Pakistan developed serious differences with Coach Waqar Younis over the course of the last few months. It was apparent from team selection during the World Cup that all was not well. While the coach believed Abdul Rehman was a better spinner, Afridi wanted the wicket-taking Saeed Ajmal in the playing eleven. Ajmal would then go on to prove his worth in the semi-final and prove his captain right.
The differences turned into an unwelcome situation during the recent tour of the West Indies. After Pakistan won the one-day international series, the main aim was to give exposure to the bench strength, but lanky paceman Sadaf Hussain (69 wickets in the domestic season) fell victim to the differences and returned as the only member of the squad who did not get a chance to play. The matter came to a boiling point when Afridi almost refused to lead the team in the last two matches and it was only after the interference of manager Intikhab Alam that the all-rounder took to the field.
Afridi’s public outburst on his differences with the coach also received mixed reactions. “Afridi should not have spoken to the media on his differences with the coach,” opined Akram. But another former captain, Moin Khan believed Afridi’s pleas fell on deaf ears. “One should take into account why Afridi went public. He did because the PCB did not listen to him. The PCB is taking whimsical decisions in the last three years but no one is taking any notice.”


Afridi, despite being forbidden by the central contract and Alam’s advice, failed himself and spoke his mind on his return from the West Indies. Although he did not name Waqar Younis but his comments were obviously aimed at the coach. The PCB backed the manager and the coach and handed additional responsibilities of one-day captaincy to Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq for the two-match series against Ireland.
Even after Afridi’s public comments, there was room for reconciliation only for a news report to relight the fire. An official conversation between Ijaz Butt and Afridi, where Butt confirmed Afridi that he will be retained as captain was leaked to the media. It irked Butt no end and he decided to have a change.

Little wonder that all actions taken by the PCB against Afridi received the support of the government. And that support encouraged Butt to suspend Afridi’s central contract, stop all his payments, revoke all NOCs granted to him to play abroad. That meant Afridi might not be able to play Twenty20 for Hampshire in June and in the Sri Lanka Premier League a month later.
Afridi has put a condition on his return, saying he “will play only if the current set up of the PCB is changed.” Although Butt remains unlikely to lose his post in the aftermath of this fiasco, there are speculations that a change is imminent.
It would be in the best interest of the game in Pakistan if an amicable solution is reached. If not, sadly, a popular player will made an unpopular exit.


پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ نے شاہد آفریدی کو جاری کردہ وہ تمام این او سیز واپس لے لیے ہیں جن کے تحت انہیں بیرون ملک کرکٹ کھیلنے کی اجازت دی گئی تھی۔

ان کا سینٹرل کنٹریکٹ معطل کر دیا گیا ہے اور اس سے متعلق تمام رقم روکتے ہوئےانہیں اظہار وجوہ کا ایک اور نوٹس جاری کر دیا گیا ہے۔

آفریدی نے انگلش کاؤنٹی ہمپشائر کی جانب سے ٹی ٹوئنٹی کھیلنے کا معاہدہ کر رکھا ہے اس کے علاوہ وہ سری لنکا میں پہلی بار آئی پی ایل کی طرز پر ہونے والی لیگ بھی کھیلنے والے ہیں۔

نامہ نگار عبدالرشید شکور کے مطابق شاہد آفریدی نے پیر کی شب پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ کے مبینہ نامناسب رویے پر بطور احتجاج انٹرنیشنل کرکٹ سے ریٹائرمنٹ کا اعلان کر دیا تھا۔

انہوں نے پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ کو اپنی ریٹائرمنٹ کا ذمہ دار قرار دیتے ہوئے کہا کہ وہ موجودہ بورڈ کے ہوتے ہوئے کھیلنا نہیں چاہتے، جو بقول ان کے کرکٹرز کی عزت کرنا نہیں جانتا۔

پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ کا کہنا ہے کہ جس انداز میں شاہد آفریدی نے ریٹائرمنٹ کا اعلان کرتے ہوئے بورڈ کے بارے میں ریمارکس دیے وہ سینٹرل کنٹریکٹ اور ضابطہ اخلاق کی خلاف ورزی ہے ۔

بورڈ نے شاہد آفریدی سے کہا ہے کہ وہ سات دن میں اپنے ریمارکس کی وضاحت کریں۔

منگل کو پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ کے چیئرمین اعجاز بٹ نے لاہور میں صحافیوں سے بات کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ آفریدی اگر ان کے ہوتے ہوئے کرکٹ کھیلنا نہیں چاہتے تو سو بسم اللہ۔

اعجاز بٹ کا کہنا ہے کہ آفریدی نے ضابطہ اخلاق کی خلاف ورزی کی ہے جس پر انہیں ایک بار پھر شوکاز نوٹس دیا جا رہا ہے۔

یاد رہے کہ ویسٹ انڈیز کے دورے سے وطن واپس آنے کے بعد شاہد آفریدی نے کسی کا نام لیے بغیر ٹیم مینیجمنٹ سے اختلافات کی بات کی تھی اور کہا تھا کہ جس کی جو ذمہ داری ہے اسے وہ پوری کرنی چاہیےاور کسی دوسرے کے کام میں مداخلت نہیں کرنی چاہیے۔

ان کا اشارہ کوچ وقار یونس کی طرف تھا جن سے دورے میں سلیکشن کے معاملات پر ان کے اختلافات شدت اختیار کرگئے تھے۔

پاکستان کرکٹ بورڈ نے شاہد آفریدی کو اظہار وجوہ کا نوٹس دیا تھا۔ بعدازاں انہیں آئرلینڈ کے خلاف دو ون ڈے میچوں کی سیریز کے لیے کپتان مقرر نہیں کیا گیا اور مصباح الحق کی کپتانی میں اعلان کردہ ٹیم میں وہ عام کھلاڑی کے طور پر شامل کیے گئے تاہم آفریدی نے امریکہ میں بیمار والد کی تیمار داری کو جواز بناتے ہوئے سیریز سے دستبرداری اختیار کر لی تھی۔

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