Asif Afridi returns to Pakistan domestic cricket after one year of ban

Despite the PCB announcing in February this year that left-arm spinner Asif Afridi was banned for two years – a suspension for anti-corruption code offences back-dated to September 12, 2022 – he is back playing the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in Pakistan. He played his first game since the ban from September 16, a few days more than one year into his ban.

However, this does not violate the conditions of his ban because the PCB made an error when announcing his ban for corruption-related offences. A document seen by ESPNcricinfo shows the order to ban him stated that “a two-year period of ineligibility” be imposed upon him “half of which will be suspended”.

However, when the PCB announced the sanction on their official website and social-media profiles, there was no mention of part of the sentence being suspended, stating simply that he had been banned from participating in all forms of cricket for two years. The statement also carries a quote from then-PCB chairman Najam Sethi, saying that it “gives the PCB no joy to suspend an international cricketer for two years”.

The PCB told ESPNcricinfo it accepted that the official announcement of Afridi’s ban earlier this year contained this error. It was not officially or publicly corrected at any time since, and there was no announcement from the board when Afridi resumed his career last month.

Afridi was banned for two violations of the PCB’s anti-corruption code. The more serious breach of the code was a violation of Article 2.4.10, which involves “directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this Article 2.4.” The precise nature of this offence has not been made public.

Since returning, Afridi, 36, made an indifferent start to the tournament for FATA, taking two wickets across his first three matches. In his most recent game, though, he took seven wickets across two innings against Faisalabad.

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