Afridi should explain his shock retirement: Butt

PCB chief Ijaz Butt at an ICC meet Getty Images

Lahore: Jun 1, 2011

A defiant Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt Wednesday said he is not affected by Shahid Afridi’s decision to quit the game till the time he was incharge of the PCB and insisted that the temperamental player will have to explain his shock retirement.

“(Do it immediately) Sau Bismillah to him if he does not want to play under my Chairmanship,” Butt told the media when asked to comment on Afridi’s remarks that he would not play under the present cricket set-up.

A stubborn-looking Butt made it clear that Afridi had violated several clauses of his code of conduct not for the first time in recent times.

“He has violated the contract codes and like any other player he now has to explain his actions to the board,” Butt said.

The board Tuesday started disciplinary action against Afridi for his sudden decision to retire from international cricket and for making disparaging comments about the board and its officials.

As part of the disciplinary measures, the board has revoked his NOC’s, cancelled his central contract and issued him a show cause notice to which he has to respond within seven days and also suspended all payments to him as part of his central contract.

The feud between the board and Afridi has already started becoming a political issue with the Pakistan sports minister Engineer Shaukatullah saying he is with the player.

“I am with Afridi and will support him in this issue. Ijaz Butt has been running the board like his own kingdom and it is time he was held accountable for his actions and sacked,” the minister said.

He said he would be speaking to the Prime Minister to apprise him of the shambles in which Pakistan cricket was and to take steps to restore Afridi as captain and change the board set-up.

The heads of the National Assembly and Senate standing committees on sports, Iqbal Mohammad Ali and Ghaffar Qureshi have also come out in favour of the temperamental all-rounder blaming Butt for the fresh crisis in Pakistan cricket.

“These players are our assets and they are not being treated justly by Butt and the board and there is a limit to this problem of senior players being disrespected by the board. We are going to ask the government to take immediate notice and change the board set up,” Iqbal said.

Qureshi insisted Afridi remained a valuable player and had committed no crime to be treated this way.

The central leader of the Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement, Farooq Sattar also waded into the controversy saying that the board had no right to treat Afridi in the way they had.

“The President must now take notice of the problems in our cricket which is bringing a bad name to the country and set things right.”

However, this is not the first time in Butt’s tumultuous tenure that he has come under fire from politicians and government officials for some issue.

In the past when he sidelined former captain Younis Khan from the team the same sort of statements of support came from every quarter for the player but after remaining out of the team for eight months, he had to eventually meet Butt and apologise before being cleared to play for Pakistan again.

“Younis’s case was not so complicated because he didn’t make any disparaging remarks about the board or team officials in contrast Afridi has gone on the warpath and taken the dispute to a point of no return.

“The way I see now they are three solutions to this problem. First Afridi is penalized and apologizes to the board and is back in the team, secondly his career is practically over and thirdly Butt is removed as Chairman by the President,” cricket analyst Saad Shafqat said.