ICL: Indian Cricket League

Afridi banned for four ODIs over Centurion incident


All-rounder Shahid Afridi’s World Cup ambitions took a blow on Saturday when he was banned for four ODIs after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s Code of Conduct during Pakistan’s one-dayer against South Africa at Centurion earlier this month.

The punishment means Afridi will have to miss at least two of the World Cup matches in the West Indies next month.

The verdict came from Match Referee Chris Broad, who found Afridi guilty of a Level 3 offence after a hearing in Cape Town on Saturday which was also attended by Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and manager Talat Ali.

According to an ICC statement, Afridi was charged with a Level 3 offence under section C 2 of the Code which refers to “conduct unbecoming… which could bring (players or officials) or the game of cricket into disrepute.”

The charge was laid by ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed and relates to an incident which took place after Afridi was dismissed during the first ODI of the ongoing series on February 4.

As the player walked up a set of stairs towards the dressing room a spectator apparently said something to him and Afridi reacted by appearing to push his bat at the person in an aggressive manner, causing the spectator to take evasive action.

“I took into account what I considered to be the mitigating circumstances of a spectator in close proximity to the player shouting at him as he returned to the dressing room. I also spoke to the spectator in question ahead of the hearing to get his version of events,” said Broad.

“However, I found it impossible to escape the conclusion that Mr Afridi’s actions were a clear threat to that spectator, and had that person not taken evasive action then the bat would almost certainly have hit him.

“Such an act is completely unacceptable and on that basis I found the player guilty of the Level 3 offence.” Broad also made a point about the circumstances in which the incident took place. “For the record, I do not believe spectators should be that close to the players or that they should feel they can shout whatever they like and think that is acceptable,” he said. “That is a view I have expressed to Cricket South Africa.”

Players found guilty of a Level 2, 3 or 4 offence have a right of appeal. Such an appeal must be lodged in writing with the ICC’s legal counsel within 24 hours of the player receiving the original verdict. If an appeal is lodged then the player may continue to play until the verdict of that appeal is given.

However, Pakistan are unlikely to appeal against the ban as they would want Afridi to serve half of the sentence ahead of the World Cup getting underway from March 13. Pakistan have two more matches to play in South Africa which means that if Afridi does not play in them he would miss two initial games of the World Cup.

The ban is a major blow for Afridi, who returned to form with a match-winning knock of 77 in the second ODI in Durban last week, after enduring a lean patch that lasted for almost 20 months.
Source:The News

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