Pakistan news February 15, 2010

Parliamentary panel wants stricter penalty for Afridi

Cricinfo staff

Pakistan's parliamentary sports committee wants Shahid Afridi to be punished further for tampering with the ball during the fifth ODI against Australia in Perth last month. The committee told the PCB that Afridi, who is serving a ban of two Twenty20 internationals, had maligned the country's reputation and such an offence warranted a harsher penalty.

"If he [Afridi] bites the ball like an apple, there are lots of problems behind it," Senator Haroon Akhtar told PCB chairman Ijaz Butt. "If you don't take action this will happen again. The team lacks discipline and you got to rectify the problem."

Afridi was caught by TV cameras biting the ball on a couple of occasions. This was reported by the TV umpire to the on-field umpires who, after a chat with Afridi, changed the ball. Afridi pleaded guilty to the charge at a hearing with the match referee Ranjan Madugalle immediately after the game. He apologised and regretted his action and was banned for two Twenty20 internationals, the second of which is the first match against England on February 19 in Dubai.

Butt, however, told the committee that the board could not punish Afridi further. "The ICC has told us clearly that you can't punish a player twice for one offence," Butt said. "Their lawyer has also suggested that if we handed more punishment to Afridi, and he challenges it in court, it will run the PCB into trouble."

Senator Tariq Azeem, though, countered by saying that selecting a player was at the PCB's discretion. "The ICC can't question you if you don't pick him up in the national team," he said. "You should not compromise the integrity of the nation. No player is indispensable. We should tell the world that we are not cheaters and we know how to deal with indisciplined players."