Former ODI captain Shahid Afridi will finally join Hampshire next week after successful talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday in Islamabad.
Following an hour long meeting between Afridi and PCB chief Ijaz Butt, PCB granted the player his ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC).
Afridi’s lawyer Umran Khan told BBC Radio Solent that the meeting went very well and both parties had come to an amicable agreement.
He added that he had spoken to Hampshire manager, Giles White and they’re very pleased that it’s all sorted out and that Afridi, too, was very excited to finally be linking up with Hampshire and getting back to doing what he loves, which is playing cricket.
Print edition adds:
The two-week long battle between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Shahid Afridi, which moved to the Sindh High Court (SHC), is finally showing signs of truce following the former captain’s meeting with board chairman Ijaz Butt in Islamabad yesterday.
According to officials, the two met in presence of a government official to find out solution for the dispute that began with the all-rounder’s retirement from international cricket on May 31. The meeting took place on insistence of a top government official close to board’s patron-in-chief President Zardari.
While the PCB confirmed the meeting took place, it refrained from sharing details of the discussion that took place between the duo.
“The PCB confirms the meeting was held,” read the board’s media release issued hours after it was held. “The PCB will not make any further comment on the discussion at this stage.”
Withdrawal of court case
However, The Express Tribune has learnt that the discussion about an out-of-court settlement to the issue was made between Afridi and Butt.
“Afridi has agreed to withdraw his plea from court against the sanctions imposed by the PCB,” an official told The Express Tribune.
The board, irked by Afridi’s decision to confirm his retirement and the choice of words used against the board on-air, suspended his central contract and revoked all his NOCs which immediately blocked the all-rounder’s participation in England’s domestic Twenty20 tournament.
The PCB also told the former captain to appear before a three-member disciplinary committee to explain his decision and accusations. Afridi rejected PCB’s directive and instead took stay of the PCB hearing at the SHC, which summoned the PCB officials for hearing on June 9.
The SHC, after a short, first hearing, postponed the case till June 16 and upheld PCB’s sanctions against the cricketer until the next hearing.
Afridi to appear before PCB committee
A PCB official said the all-rounder has agreed to appear before the PCB disciplinary committee, a move that he had earlier rejected.
“Afridi will appear before the PCB committee after withdrawing his court case,” said the official. “According to an agreement between the PCB chairman and Afridi, the disciplinary committee may issue him the NOCs after imposing a fine and a possible apology from the cricketer.”
The official added the PCB will fulfill all legal requisites into the case. “PCB’s lawyers will appear in the SHC hearing where Afridi will withdraw his case.”
Afridi can play domestic T20
Meanwhile, the PCB has given a go-ahead to Afridi’s participation in the upcoming Super Eight T20 Cup to be held in Faisalabad.
The Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) sought the board’s permission for the all-rounder’s participation in the tournament as he was due to lead Karachi Dolphins in the tournament. A PCB official confirmed the cricketer can feature in the local tournament.
However, Afridi’s participation in the event is not confirmed because he may fly to England for his stint with Hampshire if he gets the required NOC from the PCB.