Karachi: Former Pakistan captains and players on Thursday backed PCB’s decision to drop the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir for rest of the England tour until their names are cleared in the spot-fixing scam.
Former captain Zaheer Abbas said the board had taken a sensible decision.
“This was the appropriate thing to do because only time will prove if they are guilty or innocent and until this is clear you can’t have players under a fixing cloud playing for the country,” he said.
Zaheer said that if the players were proven innocent, it would be good for the PCB.
“The board can say look we took the right decision and we played our role in having a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption in cricket. The board’s credibility will be enhanced,” he added.
Another former skipper Aamir Sohail said he was not surprised that the players were withdrawn.
“I think this should have been done earlier because now it is the PCB’s credibility at stake as well. Having these three in the team at the moment would also have disturbed the morale of the rest of the team, there is a big question mark over them,” Sohail said.
The former chief selector also emphasised that he had a feeling that the board was told something by the ICC and Scotland Yard that prompted them to drop the players.
“Pakistan cricket is presently facing a big challenge. This is a really serious matter. The first thing to do was to sideline these players. Now atleast this would allow the rest of the team to concentrate on the coming series,” he said.
Sohail also called for a widespread investigation by the ICC into alleged spot fixing in cricket.
“This bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed said that the Oval test was also fixed if that is true England lost that test, so the ICC really needs to look into this thing on a wider scale.”
Former captain Moin Khan said the longer the probe, the more it would hurt the image of Pakistan team.
“I think the board and High Commission should ensure that the investigators atleast give a preliminary report so that everyone knows if there is any credibility to these allegations of spot-fixing against our players,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PCB has said that until now it had not got any request from the touring team management to send replacements for the three players.
“If we get a request we will pass it on to the selectors. But at the moment we have the T20 internationals coming up and for that the squad is final,” a board official said.
Interestingly, chief selector Mohsin Khan and two other selectors are already in England and sources said they had already deliberated on finalising the replacements from outside the four standbyes named for the toured earlier on.
Earlier this month, the selectors had named wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, batsman Asad Shafiq, pacer Muhammad Irfan and left-arm spinner Abdul Rehman as the standbys.