Shahid Afridi’s role will be under scanner in the probe into the Shoaib Akhtar-Mohammad Asif brawl in Johannesburg with a few Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials suspecting the flamboyant all-rounder of provoking the spat.
PCB chief executive Shafqat Nagmi was scheduled to depart for South Africa to initiate the inquiry into the incident but move was cancelled as Board Chairman Naseem Ashraf decided to wait for the team’s return before any hearing is held by the disciplinary committee.
“Don’t be surprised if there is more to this incident, something more intriguing and planned as Shoaib -- after the defection of Inzamam and departure of Mohammad Yousuf to the Indian Cricket League (ICL) -- was the senior most player in the side at the moment,” a PCB source said.
“I would not be surprised if Shoaib returns to action for the home series against South Africa later this month,” he added.
Akhtar had accused Afridi of provoking him when he “accidentally” struck Asif with a bat during a practice session ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup in Johannesburg. The mercurial pacer was immediately called back home after the incident.
Afridi, who also has a history of disciplinary transgressions, later rubbished the allegations.
However, a Pakistani player, who is not in the team, said going by Afridi’s record, Akhtar’s accusation could actually be true.
“Afridi himself does not have a very clean disciplinary and behaviour record, so one cannot discount Shoaib’s claim that he (Afridi) provoked the brawl with Asif. Secondly, in reality also, something really provocative might have caused Shoaib to hit Asif with his bat,” the player said.
In 1999, Moin Khan and Afridi allegedly had a spat with the Javed Miandad and the duo reportedly picked up their bat against the veteran player.
In 2002, Afridi had a clash with former captain Waqar Younis and in 2005, the all-rounder was involved in a much-publicised fight with Younis Khan.