Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's mercurial allrounder, faces the prospect of missing a large proportion of the World Cup after being charged with bringing the game into disrepute in the first one-day international against South Africa at Centurion. If found guilty the ban can be as many as four Tests or eight one-dayers.
Afridi was seen brandishing his bat at a spectator who said something to him on his way back to the pavilion after being dismissed for 17 off Makhaya Ntini. Initially no charges were laid, but ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed decided to act after studying the video of the incident.
"Afridi has been charged with a Level 3 offence under section C 2 of the Code which refers to 'conduct unbecoming ... Which could bring (players or officials or) the game of cricket into disrepute," a statement from the ICC said.
The release added the hearing will be conducted by Chris Broad and will take place as soon as possible and details of its timing will be released in due course. If found guilty, Afridi could be banned for two to four Tests, or four to eight one-dayers. Until the hearing takes place, Afridi remains available to play for Pakistan.
Afridi, if banned, won't be the first one to be pulled up on this tour. South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs was banned for a Test, a one-dayer and a Twenty-20 International for abusive remarks at a section of the crowd in the first Test earlier in the series.