Pakistan news March 29, 2010

Afridi writes to PCB; requests reconsideration of fine

Shahid Afridi has written to the PCB chairman asking him to reconsider the fine imposed on him by a committee for ball-tampering during the fifth ODI against Australia in February this year. Though local reports suggested that the fine will be withdrawn, the board says it has asked Afridi to formally appeal against the charge.

Afridi was fined Rs. 3 million ($35,000) and put on probation for a six-month period after the committee, set up after a disastrous tour of Australia, found him guilty of bringing the game and country into disrepute. Afridi was caught on TV biting the ball in a bid to tamper with it. He was leading Pakistan in the match and was immediately banned for two games, by the ICC.

He was temporarily removed as Pakistan's Twenty20 captain following the incident but was announced recently by the board as the man to lead Pakistan's defense in the World Twenty20, due to begin in the Caribbean on April 30th. Afridi's personal plea to the chairman is based on the grounds that he has already been punished once for the incident, and a fine would be the second punishment for the same offence. "Afridi has written a letter to us and we will consider it in due course," Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, told Cricinfo. "His punishment has not been withdrawn yet and all these reports are baseless."

The letter does not, however, constitute a formal appeal and Afridi is likely to be told he should follow the process set up by the board to the punished players. Seven players were punished in all by the committee with fines and bans - the Akmal brothers, Shoaib Malik, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan and Afridi - though the specific nature of charges was never released. The board has set up a three-member appeals panel consisting of retired judges from the Supreme and High Courts and given the players 30 days to file appeals.

As of today, no player has filed an official appeal. Afridi has sent a letter to the chairman, as has Younis Khan who has been banned indefinitely from playing from Pakistan. The board has sent Younis a reply asking him to initiate a formal appeal to the panel. Rana, banned for a year from playing for Pakistan for unspecified offences, has today also sent in a legal notice through his lawyer to the PCB in which some legal objections have been raised about his punishment, but this is not a formal appeal.

Malik, also banned for a year, said he intends to appeal but he's currently playing in a Twenty20 tournament in Sharjah - he could lodge an appeal upon his return - and is possibly distracted by the announcement of his wedding to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.

Yousuf, meanwhile, has announced his retirement from international cricket as a result of his indefinite ban though he also said recently he might consider appealing should he be advised to do so.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo