The dispute between Shahid Afridi and the PCB took the first official step towards a resolution, with Afridi withdrawing his petition against the board in the Sindh High Court. He will now appear before a PCB disciplinary committee on Thursday; Afridi had filed the petition on June 7 against the same disciplinary proceedings the board had initiated against him in the wake of his 'retirement' and subsequent criticism of the board.
But following a meeting between Afridi and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt in Islamabad, the outlines of a compromise emerged on Tuesday; Afridi would withdraw the petition, face up to a disciplinary committee that the court had initially put a stay order on, be punished, but have his No-Objection Certifcate (NOC) reinstated, allowing him to play for Hampshire.
A hearing last week had adjourned the case to June 16, after the board didn't file a detailed reply, but following the compromise deal, Afridi's lawyers appeared in court today to officially withdraw the petition. "The petition has been withdrawn as a part of the reconciliation between both sides," Syed Ali Zafar, Afridi's lawyer, told ESPNcricinfo. "If the petition has borne fruit then there is no objection or obstacle in withdrawing a petition."
Afridi has now been asked to appear before the committee on June 16 at the PCB headquarters in Lahore. In a statement released several hours after the petition was withdrawn, the board said they had been informed of the withdrawal by Afridi. "Therefore, in continuation of the proceduere that had been postponed as per court orders, PCB has directed Shahid Afrdito appear in person before the Diciplinary Committee of PCB on 16 June, 2011 at 3:00 PM at PCB Headquarters, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore."
The reinstatement of the NOCs will likely happen once that hearing has taken place; in his first communication to the PCB after being served a notice, Afridi had accepted violating the code of conduct but asked for his NOC to be reinstated. His central contract also remains suspended for now.
"We hope that the NOC will now be granted," Zafar said. "The disciplinary committee hearing will be a kind of formality now."
Incidentally, there has been no indication from Afridi so far about the status of his conditional retirement and neither, it is said, was it discussed in the meeting with Butt. After being stripped of the ODI captaincy, Afridi said several times that he would not play internationally under this administration, though he insisted he would continue playing domestically at home and abroad.
Earlier this week, before the Afridi-Butt meeting, the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) announced Afridi as captain of the Karachi Dolphins side in the domestic T20 tournament to be played in July in Faisalabad. They also asked the PCB whether he would be allowed to play. That issue will also now be resolved, but Afridi's Hampshire commitment will take precedence in any case over the local tournament.