Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has urged President Asif Ali Zardari to save cricket from the "clutches" of the Ijaz Butt-led Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Afridi told IANS from London Wednesday that he is hoping that Zardari, who is PCB's chief patron, will intervene and resolve the latest crisis to have hit Pakistan cricket.
"I appeal to President Zardari to save Pakistan cricket from complete destruction," said Afridi, a day after the PCB suspended his central contract and issued him a show-cause notice for announcing his retirement from international cricket and for his outburst against the Board.
Afridi quits international cricket; slams PCB
Afridi, who was hailed as a national hero in March when he almost single-handedly led Pakistan to the World Cup semifinals, finds himself in hot water as the PCB has also revoked all NOCs granted to him, meaning that he cannot feature in county cricket or any Twenty20 leagues.
The flamboyant all-rounder has received emphatic support from various segments of the society.
Even parliamentary sports panels are standing by Afridi and have asked Zardari to reorganise the PCB after removing its chairman Butt.
According to The News, parliamentary panel chairmen, both from the government and the opposition parties demanded that Afridi be allowed to come back to international cricket and lead the Pakistani team. A depressed Afridi, who was removed from the captaincy, announced retirement from international cricket as a protest against the PCB attitude.
The Senate and National Assembly's committees on sports held that the PCB patron-in-chief would be responsible for further deterioration of the cricket game in Pakistan if the PCB administration was given a free hand to humiliate star players and team leaders.
"The only solution to the existing problems and put cricket on the right track is to reorganise the board without delay as Shahid Afridi's protest is genuine and the people are deeply concerned over what is going on with the sport they love," said Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi, the chairman of the Senate's sports body.
He said the chief patron should have taken immediate notice and stopped the PCB from destroying cricket due to abrupt and frequent changes of captains.
The National Assembly's sports committee chairman, Iqbal Ali Khan, who submitted his resignation that was not accepted by the speaker, said Afridi's arguments for quitting international cricket are valid and the development has demoralised the nation.
"The president should come forward while taking cognizance of the Afridi protest and revamp the whole PCB without delay if the cricket loving Pakistani nation is to be satisfied."