'Most dedicated cricket fan' petitions SHC against revelations in Afridi's new book

May 06, 2019

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In his book, Afridi wrote that he was "19, and not 16" when he smashed the century against Sri Lanka. ─ File photo
In his book, Afridi wrote that he was "19, and not 16" when he smashed the century against Sri Lanka. ─ File photo

Pakistan's self-professed "most dedicated fan of cricket" has petitioned the Sindh High Court against revelations made by former skipper Shahid Afridi in his controversial new book, Game Changer, on Monday.

The petitioner said he had been "aggrieved by the acts and omissions" of the Pakistan Cricket Board and International Cricket Council, which had touted Afridi's 1996 37-ball century as the fastest 100 made by the youngest centurion at the time.

In his book, Afridi wrote that he was "19, and not 16" when he smashed the century against Sri Lanka. "I was born in 1975," he said. It is a claim that has become a major source of debate over what his actual age was when he scored that century.

A source close to the former cricketer had claimed earlier that Afridi was right when he claimed that he was 19 at that time and said that the year of birth (1975) is a printing error. "It is definitely a miscalculation by the publisher... Shahid played his first One-Day International at the age of 19. He was born in 1977."

The petitioner said the alleged misrepresentation of Afridi's age had hurt, humiliated and defamed cricket. That, and other "illegal acts, omissions caused by the respondents is in violation of various articles of the Constitution, Pakistan Penal Code, Cyber Crime Law and the norms of human rights".

The petitioner argued that the publication of the book in print, electronic and social media was "unlawful and unwarranted and violation of articles of the Constitution"; that it damaged the reputations of Waqar Younis, Javed Miandad and Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir ─ none whom Afridi shared a favourable opinion of ─ and cricket fans; and promoted hatred and mistrust among cricket control authorities, players and fans.

He also requested action on the grounds that the book had been published with the consent of Afridi and the book's author without any other lawful authority or justification "but for some ulterior motive and for unlawful gain", and that each citizen whose rights had been violated by the book retained the right to be treated in accordance with law, and the right to a fair trial.

The petitioner asked the court "to direct the respondents 1 and 2 (Afridi and author Wajahat Khan) for stoppage/not giving the permission or consent to the publishers for publication of the said disputed book".

He also asked the court to "direct the respondents 1 and 2 (Afridi and Khan) to remove the said illegal, unlawful, defamatory and derogatory remarks against the respondents 3, 4, 5 (Miandad, Younis and Gambhir) and all other national and international players".

The petitioner asked the court to direct Afridi to furnish proof of his year of birth and show cause for misstatement of the same, and to the National Database and Registration Authority to provide proof upon which the cricketer's passport and ID documents were issued.

The petitioner also asked the SHC to direct PCB and ICC to "show cause or evidence or proof" on the basis of which they had declared Afridi's age as 16 in 1996. The court was also requested to direct the PCB to show cause or evidence on the basis of which they sent Afridi to the Caribbean with an Under-19 team when he himself was 20 or 21 around the time.