Karachi: Former Pakistan Test captain Rashid Latif, who blew the whistle on the match-fixing menace in international cricket, said that he now feels bad for the three suspended players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamir and Mohammad Asif.
The trio were suspended in early September by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on charges of alleged spot-fixing and face a full hearing next month in Doha that will decide their fates as cricketers.
Latif told reporters that he felt bad for the trio as the ICC had dragged its feet on reaching a decision on the case.
“The ICC has delayed things and prolonged the issue causing lot of mental torture to these players and the Pakistani people. Perhaps they don’t realise the sort of tension and pressure the players go through when confronted with such a situation,” Latif said.
“I am really disappointed that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also made no attempt to push the ICC to reach a decision on this case as soon as possible. It is now nearly four months since these three were suspended and they still don’t know what lies ahead for them.
“They still remain suspended without the ICC anti-corruption unit having proven any charges against them. That to me is unfair. Things like this should not take so long,” the former captain added.
“I know these are legal procedures and issues involved in this spot-fixing case but still four months is a long time and it is the careers of the players at stake as they remain suspended without any evidence against them so far.”
Latif felt that even the families of these players are also going through a lot of pain and stress because of the issue itself.
“If these players are guilty of spot-fixing and if the ICC-ACU has enough evidence against them then why to delay it? Just punish them. But this delay to me indicates that perhaps the evidence is still being gathered and being scanned to ensure it stands up in legal terms.”
The former wicketkeeper-batsman said that Pakistan cricket was passing through its worst phase as besides the suspended trio, another front had been opened up against other players in Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaneria and Rana Naved.
“I don’t get it if the ICC and PCB believe these players are guilty of corruption then why are they even playing domestic cricket. But what is unfair is to cast a question mark on their integrity without having any evidence to show. The PCB must decide quickly if they are not guilty of wrong doing they should be in the World Cup team.”
Latif also pointed out that if the players decided to take their case to any court of law it would take little time to throw out the allegations against them in present circumstances.
“I think perhaps the PCB needs to be more pro-active and tell the ICC to stop talking and come up with the evidence and conclude the issue of spot-fixing allegations against the players quickly, so that everyone can move on.
“It is not realistic to expect our players in the national team to perform well when all this is going on. It is hurting our chances of doing well in the World Cup,” he added.