DUBAI: Commenting on corruption allegations surfaced during second season of PSL, Veteran Pakistani cricketer Ramiz Raja said no lessons were learnt from the Mohammad Aamir saga, Indian media reported on Sunday.
Pakistan cricket has been rocked with a handful players found involved or investigated for corrupt activity in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) in UAE.
The day after internationals Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were sent back home for not reporting approaches, Muhammad Irfan, Zulfiqar Babar and Shahzaib Hasan were caught for alleged involvement in fixing-related controversy. The three have been cleared to play but continue to be investigated.
“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 told “Mumbai Mirror” from Dubai, where the tournament is currently underway. “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 had steadfastly opposed the recall of Aamir back into international fold after he served his ban for role in the 2010 spot fixing scandal. He reiterated that position although bowler himself has been quite successful since his return.
“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,” he rued. “If I was the CEO, I would not have allowed him 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.”
On a general note, Ramiz thought such issues are not exclusive to Pakistan alone and there may be lessons to be learnt from Australia and England. “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. May be 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.”
Stressing on that point, the cricketer-turned commentator continued, “We need to introspect as a society. When Amir was caught accepting an offer of 5000-10000 pounds (in England in 2010), he was to sign up with a county for 130,000 pounds the next day. Sharjeel Khan has signed up with Leicester for 70,000 pounds. From that point to fall to such a low, it is crazy. May be it is because of the upbringing and education.”
He, however, has refused to believe that the PSL as a product would lose credibility because of the current scandal. “I don’t think it is a setback. We have got the England captain Eoin Morgan here. We have got Brendon McCullum. The talent is pool is very good. There is a lot of interest for the PSL. Now the final will be in Lahore, every foreign player is ready to cooperate to make it happen. The integrity of the PSL was at stake and the PCB took a prompt decision, which is the right and transparent. They have learnt lessons from past and know the value of a quick decision.”
He hoped that the PCB action would be serve as deterrent for future. “While the effort is being made to ensure such things don’t happen, it is impossible to root out corruption 100 per cent. All you can do is give them a healthy environment and explain them (the players) the pros and cons of this kind of activity. Hopefully this will be a lesson for other guys. Hopefully, we will also learn as an organisation and as a PSL product.
Finally, Ramiz said he would not want players like Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif back in international fold as is being demanded by some players. “Of course not, I say that,” he signed off.