Banned Afridi apologises for ball tampering

A repentant Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi tendered an unconditional apology to the country and the cricket world after being penalised by the ICC for ball tampering, saying he would not repeat the "mad thing" again in future.

Afridi, who was caught on television biting into the ball during the final overs of the Australian innings in the fifth ODI in Perth and was slapped two Twenty20 International ban, said he was sorry for having caused embarrassment to his countrymen and fans.

"I really don’t know what happened to me that made me do such a mad thing. It was not right and I apologize for my actions to everyone," he said.

Afridi was charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to ‘changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket’.

"Shahid was charged with an article 2.2.9 offence of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to ‘changing the condition of the ball in breach of Law 42.3 of the Laws of Cricket’. He has received two suspension points after breaching the Code. Two suspension points in the code means a ban of a Test, two ODIs or two T20Is," ICC said in a statement.

He will miss Pakistan’s next two Twenty20 Internationals against the same opponents on Friday in Melbourne and against England in Dubai on February 19.

"What happened was very unfortunate and should not have happened. I have learnt from my mistake and will not repeat it again," Afridi said.

"Maybe I lost my cool because our team had not done well in Australia and finally close to a win. But my intentions were just to help the bowlers but I chose the wrong way to do it," he added.

Afridi, however, said that what happened was nothing new in cricket and other teams also tried to alter condition of the ball to give some advantage to their bowlers.

Pakistan Cricket Board sources said immediately after television cameras showed Afridi biting into the ball to change its condition, a top official called up team manager Abdul Raquib and instructed him not to send Afridi for the closing ceremony and instead ask regular captain Mohammad Yousuf to do that job.

"Raquib was also told that Afridi should not be allowed to speak to the media after the match and that he should immediately accept his mistake and apologize to match referee, Ranjan Madugalle," one PCB official said.

He said this was done to avoid more controversy and problems for Afridi.

"The board has now asked the team management to send Afridi back home early as he is no longer required with the team," he added.

In 2005, Afridi was banned for twisting his spikes and trying to change condition of pitch during a Test match in Faisalabad against England.

Well placed sources, however, said despite the ball tampering incident and two match ban, the board officials were impressed with the way Afridi wholeheartedly led the side in the absence of Yousuf.

"He is definitely our next One-Day Internationals captain but since he himself is not very keen on playing Test cricket the board will look at other candidates to lead the side in the longest format," one source said.(PTI)



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