|Player:||Shahid Afridi, BC Broad|
|Event:||Pakistan in South Africa 2006/07|
DateLine: 12th February 2007
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi will miss the start of the World Cup after being banned for four one-day internationals on Saturday. Match referee Chris Broad handed down the suspension after a hearing in Cape Town into the incident in which Afridi pushed his bat at a spectator after being dismissed during the first one-day international against South Africa at Centurion last Sunday. The ban means Afridi will miss the last two matches of the series against South Africa, as well as Pakistan's first two matches in the World Cup next month, against the West Indies and Ireland. Afridi has the option of appealing against the decision within 24 hours, which would enable him to play until the appeal was heard. But that would mean he risked serving the whole of his ban during the World Cup. There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan officials. Broad found Afridi guilty of a Level Three offence for "conduct unbecoming which could bring (players or officials) or the game of cricket into disrepute." The charge was laid by International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed. The incident happened while Afridi was walking up stairs towards the dressing room. Broad found it was an extenuating circumstance that the spectator had shouted at Afridi. "I also spoke to the spectator in question ahead of the hearing to get his version of events. However, I found it impossible to escape the conclusion that Mr Afridi's actions were a clear threat to that spectator, and had that person not taken evasive action then the bat would almost certainly have hit him." Broad criticised the proximity of players to spectators at the staircase. "I do not believe spectators should be that close to the players or that they should feel they can shout whatever they like and think that is acceptable," he said. Broad said he had conveyed his view to Cricket South Africa.