Pakistan news July 11, 2011

Afridi disappointed with Butt's 'petty' statements

ESPNcricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi has said he was disappointed by the "petty things" PCB chairman Ijaz Butt brought up while justifying Afridi's axing as Pakistan's one-day captain.

"I am disappointed because such petty things coming from the head of the board were unwarranted," Afridi told the Daily Times. "He himself made me captain, and everyone, from experts to fans, had praised my leadership and the unity in the team."

Afridi led Pakistan to the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup, their best performance at cricket's flagship one-day event since 1999. After that, he led Pakistan to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day series in the West Indies before a selection meeting bust-up between him and coach Waqar Younis sparked off a controversy. Pakistan went on to lose the two dead rubber games, and Afridi was stripped of the one-day captaincy. He responded by announcing a "conditional retirement" from the game.

Last week, Butt defended the move to axe Afridi by blaming him for the losses in the West Indies, and deeming him as "not captaincy material", in an interview with Geo Super television channel.

Afridi, who is currently in England playing in the Friends Life t20 tournament, said he would consult with his lawyers before planning his next move. "I will unmask all these people who are running a smear campaign against me," he said. "I don't want to say anything right now because I am enjoying my time with Hampshire but when I return I will respond to them."

Meanwhile, Afridi's legal counsel, Syed Ali Zaffar, said the player would have a case if he chose to take Butt to court over his statements. "Ijaz Butt's statement that Shahid Afridi will not captain the Pakistan team again is not only very irresponsible but is like an order or direction to the governing council members [who choose the captain in consultation with the board chairman] and to the selection committee not to even consider him," Zaffar told the Nation. "In this regard, Mr Butt is usurping the authority of the governing council members and selection committee and is clearly acting illegally.

"Afridi can take him to court if he so chooses. I will however add that I have had no discussion with Afridi in this regard. Mr Ijaz Butt is a loose cannon. Under Pakistan Cricket Board's constitution the chairman virtually enjoys dictatorial powers."