Pakistan Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi was among the seven players who have been punished by the country’s cricket board, but the all-rounder sees nothing wrong in the decision and said it is a “step in the right direction“.
Afridi, who has been put on six-month probation and fined Rs. 3 million by the Pakistan Cricket Board for ball-tampering, feels if something was brewing in the team then the authorities have done the right thing by taking a tough stand.
“As far as other players who are accused of infighting, many officials and players have recorded their reservations in front of the inquiry committee.
“So I think there is something suspicious and that is why these punishments have been meted out. The Board cannot take any decision without pertinent cause and I am sure there is something in it,” Afridi told ‘The News on Sunday’
“The Board might not be eager to leak out the evidence they have but they have to set an example and I think it is a step in right direction,” he added.
PCB also banned former captains Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf for an indefinite period and imposed 12-month bans on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved besides fining Akmal brothers — Kamran and Umar.
The Akmal brothers and Rana have already filed formal appeals with the Board against their punishments while Yousuf has retired in protest.
Asked if the Board had any solid evidence against the players to take action, Afridi felt that there must have been some evidence.
“Obviously, how can you ban the likes of Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf, Rana Naved or Shoaib Malik without justifiable cause?” he said.
Afridi, however, made it clear that while the Board’s decision could be lauded for setting an example he has sympathy for the players concerned.
Afridi said it was a blessing in disguise that Pakistan was not playing any international cricket at the moment.
“This has allowed us to regroup in the T20 World Cup camp. For one and half months I have tried to keep the team together and tried to put it through to everyone that whatever wrong has been done by others is history, this is our chance to undo those wrongs,” Afridi said.
“As a captain I am attempting to lift the self-confidence of the players and so far the camp has been productive,” he added.
Afridi also made it clear that he had no plans to retire even if Pakistan wins the T20 World Cup.
“I still feel there are three to four years of cricket left in me. I am fit enough and I will never become a burden on the team,” he said.