Mohammad Amir shouldn't have been allowed to return: Sarfraz Nawaz
Former Pakistan speedster Sarfraz Nawaz has hit out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for not being assertive enough and permitting left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir to make a comeback to the game. The 22-year-old was cleared to play domestic cricket on Thursday by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with immediate effect.
“The PCB, rather than letting Amir come back, should have made him an example for others by keeping him away from the game; he committed a wrong act [spot-fixing], it was all proven, later he admitted it himself and so he doesn’t deserve to be back in the national squad,” Sarfraz said in an interview to Dawn on Thursday.
The 66-year-old cited the example of former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent who was banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after he pleaded guilty to match-fixing last year and questioned the PCB’s decision to provide Amir another chance to play the sport.
“[Recently] Australia and New Zealand cricket authorities looking to eradicate corruption from their set-up have introduced long sentences for fixers. [New Zealand player] Lou Vincent’s life ban [imposed by the ECB] last year is also an example. Where are we heading to [by re-admitting corrupted players]?” he asked.
He further added that players who have been involved in controversies in the past shouldn’t be picked to play for the national side and Amir too falls in the same category.
“I had already stated that none of them [having dubious past] should have been associated with the national team, and Amir’s case is no exception,” he said.
Sarfraz was also critical of the contracts provided to the players, saying that the players should be given a one-year deal and not a three-month contract. He also requested the government to look into the issue of PCB board members accompanying the team Down Under.
“The three-month contracts should be replaced with one-year deals. How can there be three-month contracts for players representing Pakistan for the whole year? It shows serious mismanagement within the PCB.
“Connected with this mismanagement is the wasteful use of PCB money. In this regard, I would like to appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to look into the matter of PCB Governing Board members [reportedly] going to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup. They are not entitled to this, as simple as that. I appeal to the PM and Board chief to cancel these joyrides and use that money [saved] for giving the players one-year contracts,” he said.
Pakistan have problems in all three departments: Sarfraz
He also added that Australia and New Zealand would be favourites to win the upcoming Wolrd Cup in home conditions and also added that Pakistan have a lot of issues to settle before they can be considered as serious challengers for the trophy.
“To me Australia due to their robust, all-round game are top favourites; second are New Zealand who have improved significantly in recent times; not to forget both the teams will have the advantage of home conditions,” Sarfraz said.
“Our team have weaknesses in all departments; batting has been the biggest worry, our fielding has remained scratchy. As regards bowling the absence of front liners Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez [latter in World Cup squad but banned from bowling due to illegal action] and Junaid Khan will be felt by our team.
“I think [on batting first] Pakistan will find it difficult to defend even a score of 300, mainly due to weakened bowling. Mohammad Irfan will have a major role if we are to make any significant progress.
“In order to overcome batting frailty on fast Australian pitches and swinging New Zealand tracks, we need regular openers. For this I strongly feel there should have been one more opener in the squad alongside Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad,” he concluded.