Karachi: Pakistan`s World Cup winning captain Imran Khan says had the PCB handed "exemplary" punishments to players found guilty of match-fixing years ago, the country could have avoided the humiliation of the current spot-fixing scandal.
Imran, who led Pakistan to the 1992 World Cup title, held the PCB responsible for the current scandal which has rocked international cricket.
"I think, everyone now acknowledges that when the first match-fixing allegations appeared, the Pakistan Cricket Board should have done a through investigation and those found guilty should have been given exemplary punishments.”
"I am talking about 1993 when the match-fixing allegations appeared for the first time and the first investigation took place. I wish, they had followed it right through and taken the steps, then we would not be facing this humiliation right now," Imran told a news channel.
Pakistan captain Salman Butt and pacer duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir`s roles in the recent Lord`s Test against England are being probed by the Scotland Yard and the ICC.
During the Lord`s match, Asif and Aamir allegedly bowled three no-balls after taking bribes from a bookie. Imran said such things did not happen during the 10 years when he was at the helm of the Pakistan team.
"I was captain for 10 years and there was no match-fixing allegations during that time before I left in 1992. The first time it happened was in 1993," the cricketer-turned-politician said.
Imran also feared that if the allegations of spot-fixing turn out to be true, it will be very "damaging" for the Pakistan cricket, which is already suffering a lot due to the volatile security situation in the country.
"But if these allegations are proved to be correct and the players (are found to be) involved in spot fixing then it opens a Pandora`s box," he said.
"We don`t know (the truth) really at the moment and hope they are not true otherwise there will be lot of repercussions - very damaging to the Pakistan cricket. It`s very difficult and sad time for Pakistan cricket because these developments are very demoralising," he added.
Imran, however, declined comment on opening batsman Yasir Hameed`s claim that his teammates fixed "almost every game" and he was dropped from the national team for two years because he did not go along with his corrupt colleagues.
"I can`t comment on what Yasir Hameed has said because he is denying it... Whatever has come on record he is denying. So we don`t know the exact truth," Imran said.