Afridi returns to enthusiastic reception from fans

Karachi: Pakistan`s sacked captain Shahid Afridi returned home to a rousing welcome from thousands of fans and said the huge turnout was a vindication of his stance against the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The 31-year-old all-rounder was given a warm welcome at the Karachi airport last night but when he reached his residence in Gulshan-e-Iqbal a bigger crowd had gathered outside to show their solidarity and support for him.

Wearing a yellow T-shirt, Afridi was hoisted on their shoulders by fans who raised slogans in his favor and showered him with rose petals.

One enthusiastic fan also lit a torch and handed it to the flamboyant cricketer who was all smiles at the crowd turnout outside his residence.

"I am simply stunned by the large number of people who have shown up to support me. This is a vindication of my stand in the dispute with the board," Afridi said.

He also made it clear that as long as his fans were behind him, he would continue his fight against "injustice" by the board.

Earlier, the all-rounder told Geo News that his dispute with the board had nothing to do with losing the captaincy of the national one-day team.

"I have never run after the captaincy and that is not the issue for me. The issue is of self respect and the way the board is treating players in the national team," he said.

Afridi claimed there were many players who felt like his about the board`s attitude but didn`t say anything for fear of losing their central contracts and places in the team.

"They have come to me and told me about their feelings. I think players need to be treated with respect by the authorities."

Afridi also made it clear that he would first confer with his lawyers on Monday before taking a decision on whether to appear before the disciplinary committee set up by the board to hear charges of code of conduct violation against him.

The all-rounder is also due to hold a press conference at the Karachi press club on Monday after meeting his lawyers who have sent a notice to the board demanding that his disciplinary hearing on June 8 be held in open and not behind closed doors.

His lawyers have said they have reservations over the way the hearing is being conducted in Lahore with the board saying it would be a closed doors session.

The all-rounder was sacked as captain of the one-day team after he returned from the West Indies due to his complaints about interference in his work by the other members of the team management.

He subsequently announced conditional retirement from cricket, saying he would return only if the current PCB set-up is overhauled.


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