As fixing saga has rocked Pakistan cricket for the second time in the past six years, former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja is saddened by the alleged involvement of two international cricketers in match-fixing during the ongoing second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Friday.
“I wanted to make them (Amir & Co) examples and not take them back into the system. It is a straight forward call for me. I was not in charge of the game. I just gave my opinion. See it has come back to bite us, unfortunately,” Ramiz Raja was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror.
Touted as the David Warner’s version of Pakistan, opening batsman Sharjeel Khan and top-order batsman Khalid Latif have both been suspended following their alleged links with bookies in a bid to corrupt the league.
“The PCB’s anti-corruption unit is continuing with inquiries to root out corrupt practices and to safeguard and protect the integrity of the PSL,” PCB statement said.
Both play for PSL franchise Islamabad United under the tutelage of Misbah-ul-Haq.
Earlier, the reports suggested that both players were caught in a raid while holding a meeting with the betting syndicate in Dubai.
“Emotionally and physically, the team has been through hell, to be honest. It is not the greatest preparation coming in to a match,” Islamabad United coach Dean Jones was quoted as saying by the The National newspaper in UAE.
The brand ambassador of PSL, Ramiz has asked to ban the cricketers if found guilty before saying the scandal won’t affect the PSL as a product which has attracted the top pool of foreign cricketers.
“I don’t think it is a setback. We have got the England captain Eoin Morgan here. We have got Brendon McCullum. There is a lot of interest for the PSL,” Ramiz remarked.
The cricketer-turned-commentator Ramiz recalled the repercussions of the Lord’s infamous Test in 2010 when fast bowling duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were banned alongside the then Pakistan skipper Salman Butt.
“We did not want it. Pakistan has gone through hell regarding such situations. One more (scandal) to deal with I guess. No lessons were learnt from the (Mohammad) Aamir saga,” Ramiz added.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) took cognizance of the matter and initiated an inquiry in the involvement of both players for not reporting about the illegal practices.
“We took a pledge at the wonderful opening ceremony (on Thursday). We also stood up for the national anthem. And the very next day this happened. This is horrendous, extremely painful,” Ramiz said.
After Sharjeel and Latif were sent home; Pakistan lanky fast-bowler Mohammad Irfan (Islamabad United), left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (Quetta Gladiators) and opener Shahzaib Hasan (Karachi Kings) were also questioned by PCB’s Anti-Corruption Unit after their alleged involvement with the betting syndicate.
“We need to study the Big Bash League and even English Country cricket which are more or less corruption free. The Asian region is pretty much affected by this menace,” Ramiz revealed.
However, all three international cricketers have been allowed to play until reports regarding their involvement come to any final conclusion.
The 54-year-old Ramiz also remarked he does not want to see players like Salman Butt and Asif playing international cricket for the country.
“If I was the CEO, I would not have allowed him [Amir] back. There is no way such individuals should be allowed into the game. The game of cricket has to move and we can always have someone to replace him. No one is indispensable. We got it absolutely wrong.” Ramiz rued.
Ramiz expressed the PCB should act strictly over the matter of grave concern.
“This is not a Pakistan-centric issue. We have to join forces to end this menace. We can create an awareness movement, and a healthy environment,” Ramiz concluded.