Karachi: Prone to controversies, Pakistan's flamboyant allrounder Shahid Afridi has kept a low profile in the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka leading to speculation that he has been stopped from speaking to media by the team management.
Pakistan cricket circles was abuzz with speculation after Geo News reported that the PCB and team management had stopped Afridi from speaking to the media. Team manager Naved Cheema was quoted as saying that since Afridi had a habit of saying things without thinking about them, it was decided to keep him away from the media to avoid controversies.
But after the issue snowballed into a controversy, Cheema himself denied any such restrictions on Afridi.
"There is no restriction on Afridi to speak to the media. If he has not spoken to the media in Sri Lanka it is because of availability issues," Cheema said. He dismissed reports that Afridi had been instructed not to speak to the media.
"As far as the Man-of-the-Match ceremonies or pre or post match conferences are concerned, the captain has the prerogative of deciding either to go himself before the media or to send some player for these customary interactions with the media," Cheema said.
Afridi has been one of the most talked-about and reported cricketer in Pakistan after his dispute with the PCB and its former Chairman Ijaz Butt. The controversy broke out after Butt removed Afridi from the captaincy of the national Twenty20 and one-day team in May last year on disciplinary grounds.
The board claimed it had acted on the manager's report which reported Afridi for walking out of team meetings twice after dispute with former coach Waqar Younis over selection issues. Afridi retired from international cricket in protest and only made a comeback last year against Sri Lanka in November after Zaka Ashraf replaced Butt as the board Chairman.