Islamabad: Shahid Afridi has replied to the PCB's showcause notice and accepted that he has violated the code of conduct, further stating his willingness to face whatever disciplinary action will come his way.
"We have received Shahid Afridi's reply and he has accepted violation of the code of conduct," Nadeem Sarwar, the PCB media manager, told ESPNcricinfo. It is believed that while accepting the breaches in the reply, Afridi explained the cause of his actions and specifically, going to the media and announcing his retirement. Afridi is said to have been upset about learning of his removal from the ODI captaincy through media reports and so responded by going to the media first himself.
ESPNcricinfo also understands Afridi has expressed a desire that his situation with Hampshire be resolved. Afridi was due to play for the county in the Friends Life t20 but the PCB revoked his No-Objection Certificate leading to, for the moment, a suspension of his registration as an overseas player by the ECB. The ECB and PCB have been in touch through a busy day, and sources close to Afridi say there is a possibility the deal could still go ahead if the boards come to a resolution, though PCB officials insist it will not be as straightforward.
As far as the reply is concerned, the board's legal advisor will now be consulted over its contents before a way forward emerges. Though the advisor, Taffazul Rizvi, has not yet received the letter, he said the act of the response and acceptance doesn't condone the breach itself. "When you accept or own an act, that is tantamount to a mitigating circumstance for a disciplinary tribunal while passing a judgment," he told ESPNcricinfo. Essentially, the disciplinary process will now be carried out to its legal and logical end, which could mean the board appointing an inquiry officer to investigate the matter further.
On Thursday, in any case, the board will officially begin to look into the root cause of the whole affair: Afridi's spat with coach Waqar Younis. Board officials will meet Waqar first and discuss issues arising from the management report of the tour to the Caribbean. It was during the ODIs that Afridi and Waqar clashed over selection, one dressing room dispute in particular that officials are concerned about, which was leaked out to the media. Intikhab Alam, the team manager who tried to mediate between the two on tour, will also be interviewed. Once that is out of the way, the Afridi issue will come back on the agenda, presumably with more background information in the bag.
Beyond that the picture remains unclear. Afridi has stressed his retirement is conditional and not permanent, though earlier today he said again that he would not play under this administration. One senior board official told ESPNcricinfo that they still considered Afridi an asset to the national side but insisted that he go through the entire disciplinary procedure for a list of breaches and be punished if necessary.