Zaheer Abbas praises England for downplaying controversy

Karachi: Former Pakistan cricket captain Zaheer Abbas has applauded “clean and fair” England for continuing the ODI series with Pakistan, even after controversial remarks by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ejaz Butt and a string of spot-fixing allegations against the visiting team.

“England cricket officials and players should be praised for their positive stance of continuing cricket with Pakistan despite the controversy,” a newspaper quoted Abbas, as saying.

The former batsman, who is hugely popular in England for his two double hundreds in the 1970s and a successful county stint with Gloucestershire, said: “I have played county cricket for 14 years and I know England players are clean and fair.”

“It is ECB’s great gesture to provide Pakistan their venues to play Australia in July this year and this should go on until we can play in our country,” he added.

Abbas’s words of appreciation followed PCB boss Butt’s comment that the English team might have thrown a one-day international match for an “enormous” amount of cash.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) rejected Butt’s remarks as “wholly irresponsible and completely without foundation,” but confirmed that England would play the two remaining one-day internationals against Pakistan.

Commenting on spot-fixing allegations, he said, “Cricket must go on as we strive hard to clean our beloved game. Had the England-Pakistan series been finished it would have been a great loss to the millions of fans.” Abbas added that any player found guilty must be punished, “so that no one dares to pollute our lovely game”.


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