Karachi: Describing the incident of wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider deserting the national team following death threats for refusing to fix matches as “shameful”, former captain Imran Khan said it reflected the current chaos and instability in Pakistan cricket.
“It is a shame that this incident happened and it has put all Pakistanis living anywhere in the world to shame,” Imran said in an interview to ‘Geo News’ channel.
“I don’t know what happened to compel him to take such a step but it has only brought more problems for Pakistan cricket. We will only know the truth in next few days but clearly it is time to bring some stability to Pakistan cricket,” he said.
Imran conceded that the spot-fixing scandal and the “shameful” Haider incident have given credence to the growing feeling that Pakistani players were linked with bookmakers.
“Our credence as a cricket nation has gone down (because of the scandals) and that is sad,” he said.
Imran, who led Pakistan to 1992 World Cup triumph, said stability would only come with a clean up of Pakistan cricket.
“It was only last June that we won the Twenty20 World Cup under Younis Khan and look at the shambolic state of affairs in our cricket since then. Everything has gone wrong,” he said, adding that unless there was a clean-up it would be best if Pakistan did not play cricket.
“We have changed so many captains and coaches, we have different captains for different forms of the game and no one knows who the captain will be for the next match. No other country is in such a shambolic state,” he added.
He said the clean up was needed not only in the Pakistan Cricket Board but also in the team.
“In the past, our cricket has suffered because we didn’t take action where and when required. I say even players who are found guilty of corruption should be sacked. It is better to have a new set up then to keep on facing scandals on a regular basis which bring shame to our people,” said the cricketer-turned-politician.
Imran was also critical of the way the PCB had handled the spot-fixing allegations against Salman Butt, Muhammad Aamir and Muhammad Asif.
“I don’t know why the board didn’t react more responsibly and sensibly when these allegations were first made against our players. Why has PCB not taken legal action against ‘News of the World’ so far, what is stopping them from doing this. In England, there is a law that you can’t slander and defame anyone just like that,” he said.
“I would still say the board should take legal action against the newspaper who caused so much damage to us with their spot-fixing allegation story,” he said.
“We are missing Aamir and Asif and their absence has made a big difference. I reckon by the World Cup they would have been the best new ball pair in the world,” said Imran.
He dismissed the theory that the International Cricket Council was against Pakistan.
“I don’t think they are against us whatever we face on Wednesday is our own doing.”