Ex cricket officials lambast PCB for deserting tainted trio

Updated: Feb 06, 2011, 12:06 PM IST

Karachi: The PCB and its chairman Ijaz Butt has come in for severe criticism from former cricket administrators and legal experts following the ICC`s decision to ban the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir for being involved in spot-fixing.

Following the announcement of the bans by the ICC anti-corruption tribunal head, Micheal Beloff QC in Doha yesterday, several cricket officials blamed the PCB for abandoning the players when they needed its support and guidance the most.

"Morally I think Ijaz Butt should resign after the bans on these players. The board mishandled this case from the start and allowed the ICC to take matters into its own hands," former ICC President Ehsan Mani said.

"If the board had first taken the spot-fixing allegations against these players seriously and suspended them and sent them home from England and then allowed them to hire top legal help, this situation would not have transpired.”

"I feel bad for the players but they did something wrong and got punished. They still should not have been abandoned by the board," Mani added.

Former chairman of the Board Khalid Mehmood pointed out that it was wrong on part of the PCB to just distance itself from the players.

"I don`t want to discuss whether they are guilty or not but the fact is once there were allegations against them the board should have hired the best legal help to vet the available evidence accumulated by the ICC. “

"If nothing else the PCB could have played a bigger part in ensuring the bans were not so lengthy and shocking," Mehmood said.

Another former Board chairman Lt General (retd) Tauqir Zia felt the players should not have been left rudderless and allowed to give statements that damaged their own cases.

"I think the PCB knew the facts and could have counseled the players on that basis. From what I know if the players had admitted their mistake and sought pardon the bans could have been reduced by the tribunal," he said.

A well-known barrister Amjad Malik was also critical of the board`s role and felt they had damaged the cases of the players with their mishandling and misreading of the seriousness of the situation immediately after the spot-fixing allegations were first made against the players.

"The board didn`t allow or advice the players to hire the best lawyers immediately after the allegations came out and instead gave some statements that hurt their case and then the board just distanced itself from everything and the players were left without any guidance or help," Malik said.

Malik also advised the players to now tread carefully while appealing against their bans.

"They are still facing criminal charges from the London Metropolitan police and I think it would be useless for them to appeal against their bans at this stage," Malik said.

"First they must try to get the criminal charges dropped that would have a big bearing and then appeal against their bans," he added.

Former Board official Arif Abbasi said he had reservations over the role of the PCB, insisting they should not have allowed the ICC to take control and leave the players alone.

"No board should abandon its players like this and if they were guilty the board should have taken action first," he said.