Latest: Shahid Afridi, Zaka Ashraf ‘reconcile’ following days of rancour
NBS Webdesk

Former star all-rounder Shahid Afridi Friday met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman Zaka Ashraf at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium to “reconcile”, ending days of hostility between the two.

The former cricketer, who also met Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar a day earlier, has been critical of Ashraf accusing him of treating the board like a “club” and censuring him for making irresponsible and unnecessary statements.

However, during today’s meeting, the PCB top head acknowledged Afridi’s dedication and contribution towards the game praising him as a “hero of Pakistan” and a “great ambassador of the country”.

“We admire you as a hero of Pakistan, and you have proved to be a great ambassador of the country with both your exceptional talent displayed on the field and your conduct off the field. We would love to have your experience for the betterment of Pakistan cricket,” a PCB official statement while quoting Ashraf said.

Meanwhile, the former cricketer, while appreciating the PCB chief’s efforts and contributions for Pakistan cricket expressed interest in playing his role in grooming and preparing young cricketers to represent their country in future.

Earlier, Afridi during his meeting with the prime minister, mulled over cricket issues including his association with the PCB in the future.

The star all-rounder and the premier talked about the performance of the Babar Azam-led unit in the ongoing World Cup 2023 and the grooming of cricketers from the grassroots to the international level.

The former captain has been severely critical of Ashraf for allegedly calling media house owners complaining of those criticising him on different news channels.

“You [Ashraf] are the chairman of the PCB and not of some [random] club. You are supposed to handle a lot of things [but you are] calling owners of media houses and complaining about people saying this and that [on their respective channel] about you,” the ex-skipper said.

“You are giving [unnecessary] statements about Babar and other players [at a time] when the [Pakistan] team is playing the World Cup,” he added.

The board has been engulfed in controversies following the resignation of now-former chief selector Inzamam ul Haq, and Green Shirts’ skipper Babar Azam’s private chat with a senior PCB official being leaked.

For days, rumours were circulating in the media that the PCB chief and senior board officials were not returning calls from Azam.

A controversy arose after a private news channel aired the screenshot of the skipper’s chat with a senior PCB official, showing the former denying calling Asraf in the first place.

Former cricketers, including Afridi, had lambasted the host and journalist for leaking Azam’s chat.

“How can you show someone’s private messages? Did the chairman tell the journalist? If the chairman did so, it’s a very disgraceful act,” the former captain said on a private news channel.

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