Bedi lashes out at Sutherland and other western cricket boards

Lahore: Former Indian spinner Bishen Singh Bedi lashed out at the "holier-than-thou" attitude of the western cricket boards while coming to the rescue of the Pakistan cricket Board over spot-fixing allegations.

Bedi reacted strongly to a statement by Cricket Australia`s chief executive James Sutherland who recently said that PCB could have avoided the spot-fixing scandal in Britain if it had implemented the recommendations of the Qayyum report into corruption in the 1990s.

"I would have big question marks about whether those things would have happened last year if those recommendations had been fully implemented," The Age newspaper quoted Sutherland, as saying.

However, Bedi felt that Sutherland`s statement was uncalled for and it was time Pakistan, India and other Asian boards formed a common front against such statements.

"I think it is time there was a common front against such things. Australia, England and other western boards have to realize that they cannot make such statements and maintain their holier than thou attitude," said Bedi.

Bedi pointed out that Pakistan and India had carried out proper inquiries into fixing allegations and also taken action against some of its leading players.

"We banned and fined some of our finest players," he said.

Bedi recalled the 1994-95 incident where an Indian bookmaker had allegedly given money to Australian cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, in return for pitch and weather information.

Bedi said it was by chance that the story about Warne and Mark leaked out as cricket Australia didn`t publicise it.

"They then fined their players like Warne. But these boards must realise that if Warne was a important player for them, so was Salim Malik for Pakistan or Mohammad Azhaurddin for India," he said.

He also felt that Pakistan had implemented the recommendations of the Qayyum report.

Sutherland had also claimed that Cricket Australia implemented every recommendation made in a report prepared by Queens Counsel Rob O`Regan.

"Every single recommendation in his report has been implemented and continues to be implemented today. From a Cricket Australia perspective, we do what we can, but one of my concerns is that everyone around the world needs to do that for the integrity of the contest to remain clean," Sutherland said.

Bedi said that the balance of power had now shifted in world cricket and Australia or England no longer carried any veto power or financial clout.

"Today India has the financial clout and influence in world cricket. I recall those days when western players touring India used to complain all the time about everything.

Today even at the slightest opportunity they want to come and play in India because they know now where the riches are," he said.