Shahid Afridi in Ball Tampering – Afridi Banned for T20 Match
Shahid Afridi has been banned for two Twenty20 internationals after being found guilty of ball-tampering during Pakistan’s two-wicket loss to Australia at the WACA in Perth.
Afridi, leading Pakistan for the second time in an ODI, in the absence of Mohammad Yousuf, was caught on TV cameras apparently biting the ball on a couple of occasions. The incident was reported to the on-field umpires by the TV umpire and after a chat with Afridi, the umpires changed the ball immediately.
Afridi was called into a hearing with the match referee Ranjan Madugalle immediately after the match. “Shahid Afridi has been banned for two T20Is after the incident,” a team official told Cricinfo. “He pleaded guilty to the charge.”
The punishment puts Pakistan into a quandary because Afridi is their Twenty20 captain and they end their tour of Australia with a Twenty20 in Melbourne on February 5. Yousuf, who captained Pakistan in Tests and ODIs, is not part of the Twenty20 squad and Younis Khan, who was captain before the tour of New Zealand which preceded this one, has retired from the format. Shoaib Malik, who was captain in all three formats this time last year, might be one of those in the running. Afridi will also now miss the first Twenty20 against England in Abu Dhabi in February.
“It’s unacceptable,” Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan coach, said. “It shouldn’t have happened but it happened and I feel sorry for him. Being a captain you should be above everything but unfortunately it’s happened.”
Afridi’s antics were part of a bizarre finale to the game, which sealed a 5-0 win for Australia. Opener Khalid Latif was tackled by a fan who broke through the security cordon and ran on to the field. Police have spoken to Latif, who is not thought to be seriously injured. But action is likely to be taken against the spectator and Pakistan’s management will also look at the incident in further detail.
“I thought it was disgraceful,” Australian seamer Clint McKay said. “Something you don’t want to see ever. For someone to go out there and to touch one of their players is not on. Hopefully it all gets put to bed and he gets a right whack. It’s probably the worst thing that can happen on a cricket field, so hopefully it gets stamped out and we don’t see it again.”
Australia claimed a 5-0 clean sweep of the series in a dramatic finish, winning by two wickets with four balls to spare when Ryan Harris was caught on a no-ball to finish the match, but the victory was overshadowed by controversy. At the end of the 45th over, with Australia needing 35 from 30 deliveries with three wickets in hand to run down Pakistan’s modest 212, Afridi appeared to bite the ball as if it was an apple.
Umpires Asoka de Silva and Paul Reiffel immediately changed the ball.
An over later a spectator on the western hill jumped over the fence and charged on to the ground tackling Pakistani’s square leg fieldsman Khalid Latif in a major embarrassment for ground security.
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It was the second time the match was held up last night because of a ground invader and evoked memories of Terry Alderman badly damaging his shoulder tackling a spectator who ran on to the ground during a Test against England in the 1982-83 series. Afridi is captain of Pakistan’s Twenty20 team and was captain last night when captain Mohammad Yousuf did not play because of what officials claimed was a knee injury.
“I tried to smell it. There was some things on it that I tried to move,” Afridi told ABC radio, intimating he was trying to clean the seam.
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam expects Afridi to be charged with ball tampering and believes he will plead guilty.
“We have not taken any action so far but I think the (match) referee has spoken to the (Pakistan) manager and he will probably be charged with tampering with the ball,” said Intikhab.
“They have seen the replays on TV – and it is unfortunate, he has accepted it that he should not have done it.
“It is unacceptable, it should not have happened – I feel sorry for him, being a captain you should be above everything.
“It is up to the referee. It just happened, like he was eating an apple.
“I have no idea (what he was trying to achieve).”
Match referee Ranjan Madugalle said there would be no comment on what action if any was to be taken against Afridi until an official release came from International Cricket Council headquarters in Dubai.
Five years ago Afridi was suspended for a Test and two one-day matches for deliberately attempting to rough up the pitch during the second Test against England in Faisalabad by pirouetting on a good length with his spikes during a break in play.
The pitch invader who tackled Latif has been arrested by police.
Police were in the Pakistani rooms taking statements after the match
Intikhab said Latif has a stiff neck but other than that he is “OK”.
Man of the match Clint McKay condemned the incident after the match.
“I thought it was disgraceful to be honest,” McKay said. “It’s something you don’t want to see ever, people running onto the ground and someone actually going out there and touching one of the players. It’s not on.
“Hopefully it all gets put to bed and he gets his right whack.
“It’s not something you want to happen. It’s probably the worst thing that can happen on a cricket field, someone intruding onto the ground and touching a player.
“Hopefully that gets stamped out and we won’t see it again.”
While McKay was man of the match with his 4-35, the hero was Mike Hussey, who held the lower order together with a clever, unbeaten 40 in just 46 balls.
The match ended in bizarre circumstances when No 10 Harris hit a catch to cover with the scores level but umpire Asoka de Silva called no ball against Rao Iftikhar.
Earlier Harris finished with 3-44 yesterday to give him 13 wickets in three games and he was named man of the series.
After a personally modest series, Ricky Ponting batted as well as he has all summer, with his first five scoring shots all going to the boundary. He made 55 from 78 balls before holing out to long-on playing another big shot off occasional off-spinner Shoaib Malik.
When Ponting fell at 4-122 Australia still needed 91 to win from 18.3 overs, leaving plenty of work for the middle and lower order. The equation became even more difficult when the injured Michael Clarke’s replacement Adam Voges (24 from 47 balls) played a soft bunt to mid-wicket off Malik and all-rounder James Hopes was well caught at slip by Younis Khan for six from Afridi. Afridi finished with a respectable 2-31 from his 10 overs.
It left Australia needing 63 from the last 11 overs with only the bowlers to support Hussey. Tension rose when Mitchell Johnson was caught behind cutting for 13, with Australia still needing 35 from 33 balls.
Hussey and Nathan Hauritz (18 from 20 balls) took Australia to within sight of victory before Hauritz was out from the first ball of the final over with Australia still requiring three for victory. Harris thumped a two to long on he thought was four and then was gifted the no-ball.
Clarke returned to Sydney yesterday with a minor back problem but is expected to be fit to captain Australia in the Twenty20 match against Pakistan at the MCG on Friday night.