Pakistan news June 5, 2011

Shahid Afridi returns for hearing

ESPNcricinfo staff

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is set to return to Pakistan tonight in a bid to resolve his ongoing dispute with the PCB. Afridi, who is currently in London, is scheduled to appear before a three-man disciplinary committee formed by the board on June 8 in Lahore, to face charges that he has breached two clauses of the code of conduct with his retirement announcement and subsequent criticism of the board.

Mandviwalla and Zafar Associates, the legal firm representing Afridi, had sent a letter to the PCB on June 3 in a bid to resolve the on-going dispute between the two parties. At the time, Afridi's management told ESPNcricinfo that he would appear before the committee. However, some reports suggest that Afridi and his legal team may not attend the hearing as the allrounder is reportedly uncomfortable with an in-camera hearing that the PCB want, though this has not yet been confirmed.

Over the last couple of days, Afridi is reported to have met and spoken to a number of Pakistani political figures in London and Pakistan, including, apparently, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (the son of the Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari) and former prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. He has already appealed directly to the president to look into the matter, and the country's interior minister Rehman Malik has also got involved.

A measure of his popularity - or influence - emerged over the weekend as several areas of Karachi saw banners and signs appear supporting Afridi. There is the likelihood of his arrival attracting a fair crowd to the airport and there are reports that a rally will be organised in support once he arrives.