Afridi calls in lawyers for county permission

Dumped captain Shahid Afridi has called in lawyers in a bid to secure Pakistani permission to play county cricket in England that was denied amid a public slanging match, an official said Friday.

"We have received a letter from legal firm Mandviwalla and Zafar Associates on behalf of Afridi and as per the rules we forwarded it to the disciplinary committee," said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman Nadeem Sarwar.

Sources close to Afridi said the letter was not a legal notice as such but sought permission for him to play county cricket.

The PCB revoked all No-Objection Certificates issued to Afridi to play abroad, stopping him from playing for Hampshire in the Twenty20 league in England.

The PCB also suspended his central contract and salary, asking Afridi to appear before a three-man disciplinary committee on June 8.

Afridi was punished for violating the players' code of conduct in announcing his retirement from international cricket and levelling allegations of mistreatment at the PCB.

He had been sacked as one-day captain last month after publicly criticising coach Waqar Younis for allegedly inappropriate meddling in team selection.

Afridi has since confessed to breaching the code of conduct and the letter Friday outlined his contributions during his 15-year career.

"Afridi is a national hero and has been revered throughout his career, which started as a 16-year-old boy," said a copy of the letter seen by AFP.

"It was in recognition of his services that Afridi was made captain of the team last year and he guided Pakistan to the World Cup 2011 semi-final," said the letter.

"Revoking all his NOCs is an attempt to restrain him from financial gains. Afridi should be allowed to play county cricket," it added.

Afridi has also received political support from Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sports Minister Shaukatullah Khan promising to help.

Local media reports said President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have asked the sports ministry to submit an independent report on the affair.

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