Monday 12 February 2007 

Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi Banned For Four ODIs

Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi has been banned for four ODIs after being found guilty of breaching the ICC’s Code of Conduct during his side’s ODI against South Africa at Centurion.

Afridi was charged with a Level 3 offence under section C 2 of the Code which refers to “conduct unbecoming…which could bring (players or officials) or the game of cricket into disrepute.”

The charge was laid by ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed and relates to an incident which took place after Afridi was dismissed during the first ODI of the ongoing series on 4 February.

As the player walked up a set of stairs towards the dressing room a spectator apparently said something to him and Afridi reacted by appearing to push his bat at the person in an aggressive manner, causing the spectator to take evasive action.

In finding Afridi guilty of the charge, ICC match referee Chris Broad of the Emirates Elite Panel said: “I took into account what I considered to be the mitigating circumstances of a spectator in close proximity to the player shouting at him as he returned to the dressing room.

“I also spoke to the spectator in question ahead of the hearing to get his version of events.

“However, I found it impossible to escape the conclusion that Mr Afridi’s actions were a clear threat to that spectator, and had that person not taken evasive action then the bat would almost certainly have hit him.

“Such an act is completely unacceptable and on that basis I found the player guilty of the Level 3 offence.”

Mr Broad also made a point about the circumstances in which the incident took place.

“For the record, I do not believe spectators should be that close to the players or that they should feel they can shout whatever they like and think that is acceptable,” he said. “That is a view I have expressed to Cricket South Africa.”

Players found guilty of a Level 2, 3 or 4 offence have a right of appeal. Such an appeal must be lodged in writing with the ICC’s legal counsel within 24 hours of the player receiving the original verdict.

If an appeal is lodged then the player may continue to play until the verdict of that appeal is given.

The penalties for a Level 3 offence range from a ban of between two and four Test matches or between four and eight ODIs.

The hearing was attended by Afridi as well as Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and team manager Talat Ali. Video evidence was used.

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