PCB chief roundly criticised for England accusations

Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt was accused by his predecessors of making "ridiculous" match-fixing accusations against England which would further isolate Pakistan from the rest of the cricket community.

"It is ridiculous what he has said. If he had any proof or information about English players he should have gone with it to the ICC or Scotland Yard which is already investigating allegations against our players," former board chairman Khalid Mehmood told reporters on Monday

"By making such direct accusations, Mr Butt has only ensured we may lose the support of a board that has been very helpful to us since teams have refused to tour Pakistan because of security reasons."

Butt told a television channel on Sunday: "There is loud and clear talk in bookies` circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose (Friday`s third one-day) match."

In a statement the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said it completely rejected Butt`s suggestions, which followed police questioning of four Pakistan players over allegations of spot fixing in the Test series against England.

Another two former PCB chairmen, Shaharyar Khan and Tauqir Zia, said Butt`s irresponsible remarks could have already done irreparable damage.

"This statement will not help us at all and only isolate us further. If we had any information about English players we should have spoken to the ECB about it instead of going public. This is not the way to have cordial relations with other boards," Khan told reporters.

Zia added: "The situation calls for calm diplomacy not for such statements. What can we hope to possibly achieve by this? I just hope the PCB has evidence to back up its claims about English players."

Former Test captain Zaheer Abbas said while he supported Pakistan adopting a firm stance on the spot-fixing allegations against its players, the PCB chief had overdone it.

"When these allegations first broke out he should have taken a firm stance and defended the players. But now it appears we are directionless in our policy on this issue," Abbas said.

Bureau Report

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