Tribe wants Afridi back as cricket captain

PESHAWAR:  Reacting to the resignation of former cricket team captain Shahid Khan Afridi from international cricket, the elders of Khyber tribal region have demanded removal of Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, elders of Afridi tribe led by Haris Khan Afridi said that resignation of Shahid Afridi was against the interests of the country.

They said that PCB had failed to select players on merit as all the decisions were taken by Ijaz Butt. The PCB usually selected players on basis of personal relations for international cricket team and sidelined experienced sportsmen, which was totally unfair and in violation of procedure and criteria, they alleged.

Owing to inexperienced sportsmen, they said, cricket morale of team was declining day by day. The selection on basis of favouritism and nepotism had caused a sense of deprivation among young and talented players, they said.

They alleged that PCB chairman created disputes among players since he had resumed charge of his office. Three captains had been changed during his three-year tenure, whereas the cricket team of neighbouring India was captained by Mahindra Singh Dhoni for the last five years.

The tribal elders claimed that cricket lovers were fans of Shahid Afridi as he was an honest and experienced player, who had never indulged in match fixing and kept the team united under his captaincy.

The unity and full concentration enabled the team to face its staunch rival India in the semi-final, they added.

They said the Shahid Afridi had tendered resignation owing to pressure from Ijaz Butt otherwise he wanted to play in the team. They demanded removal of PCB chairman and rejection of Afridi`s resignation.

The tribal elders threatened to launch a protest movement if government failed to remove PCB chairman.

Meanwhile, Afridi Students` Union also staged a protest demonstration against the resignation of Mr Afridi. The protesters termed the player an asset for the team – Dawn