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Afridi in hot water for criticising team

Karachi Pakistan cricket authorities on Wednesday demanded an explanation from star allrounder Shahid Afridi after he criticised the team’s “negative” approach for their early exit from the World Twenty20.

Pakistan failed to reach the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time in five editions, prompting Afridi to take a swipe at the team’s batsmen who stumbled in their final match against the West Indies which they lost by 84 runs.

Sri Lanka won the title by beating India in the final in Dhaka on Sunday.

Subhan Ahmad, Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) chief operating officer, confirmed Afridi had been served a notice, which can lead to a fine or reprimand. “Yes, the PCB had served him with a show cause notice on his interview,” Ahmad said.

The PCB had forbidden the players from speaking to the media without prior permission.

Afridi, who is known for his hard hitting and plain speaking, had blasted the top order after they were bundled out for 82 runs chasing 167. “It wasn’t a big total which couldn’t be achieved but the game slipped out of our hands in the first six overs of our batting,” Afridi told reporters on team’s arrival last week.

“It was due to our negative approach in the first six overs, and that’s the reason we lost the match.”

A days after the team’s return, Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez stepped down from his role, taking responsibility for the team’s failure.

Afridi, widely seen as the next Twenty20 captain, said he was ready to take the role. “I am ready to accept any challenge for the Pakistan team. As a player and as a captain I have no issues, but things should improve,” Afridi had said.

Sources close to Afridi said that he had replied to the notice, saying he spoke from his heart at the team’s failure. Pakistan players have a history of paying fines and bans on violation of code of conduct, with former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar fined 3.4 million rupees (Dh127,569) around $34,000 in current conversion rates) and banned for 13 matches in 2007 over hitting team-mate Mohammad Asif with a bat in an incident in South Africa.