Pakistan in South Africa, 2006-07 February 8, 2007

Afridi faces ban after spectator incident

Cricinfo staff

Shahid Afridi: in danger of missing vital World Cup matches © AFP

Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's mercurial allrounder, faces the prospect of missing a large proportion of the World Cup after being charged with bringing the game into disrepute in the first one-day international against South Africa at Centurion. If found guilty the ban can be as many as four Tests or eight one-dayers.

Afridi was seen brandishing his bat at a spectator who said something to him on his way back to the pavilion after being dismissed for 17 off Makhaya Ntini. Initially no charges were laid, but ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed decided to act after studying the video of the incident.

"Afridi has been 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," a statement from the ICC said.

The hearing will be conducted by Chris Broad and take place on February 10 after the tour moves to Cape Town for the fourth ODI at Newlands. If found guilty, Afridi could be banned for two to four Tests, or four to eight one-dayers. Until the hearing takes place, Afridi remains available to play for Pakistan.

Afridi, if banned, won't be the first one to be pulled up on this tour. South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs was banned for a Test, a one-dayer and a Twenty-20 International for abusive remarks at a section of the crowd in the first Test earlier in the series.