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PCB ready to accept any verdict in Sharjeel, Khalid case: Shaharyar

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Shaharyar M Khan on Tuesday claimed that the board will have no objection to any verdict that comes in the spot-fixing inquiry against Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif and hinted that Misbah-ul-Haq could be assigned a directorial role after the Test skipper retires.

In an exclusive interview with Dawn during a brief stopover in the city upon return from Colombo, the outgoing PCB chief pledged that whatever decision comes out from the board-appointed tribunal — which includes retired Justice Asghar Haider, a former legal advisor to the board, ex-PCB chairman Tauqir Zia and former Pakistan captain Wasim Bari against Sharjeel and Khalid, the PCB will accept it.

“If they are proven guilty then they’ll be duly punished as per rules for bringing the game into disrepute. But if they come out clean then the PCB would accept the decision of the tribunal and will not contest the verdict,” Shaharyar said. “So let us wait and see what happens since the inquiry is in the initial stages. I hope that it ends soon enough so that the nation will know whether they are guilty or innocent.

“One player Mohammad Irfan has accepted his guilt in not reporting an approach [from the bookies] to the PCB anti corruption unit and, as a consequence, has been banned for a year besides getting heavily fined.

‘Misbah could be assigned important role post retirement’

“Both Sharjeel and Khalid have denied their involvement in the scandal and have the right to present their case with their lawyers in front of the tribunal, which I know wants to finish this case quickly. It may probably take another five to six weeks before the inquiry is completed,” said Shaharyar.

Commenting on Misbah’s future, Shaharyar said given the immense contribution made by the Test skipper, the PCB is in favour of utilising his services once he retires from the game by giving him a key position in the board set-up.

“Obviously, we just cannot afford to overlook the tremendous services rendered by Misbah. He is a well-educated, honourable, decent man. We would definitely want to make use of his knowledge and could appoint him as Director Cricket, just like ECB has made [former captain] Andrew Strauss as Director of England Cricket [in 2015],” disclosed Shaharyar.

“I believe Misbah deserves this sort of recognition for the services he has rendered for Pakistan.”

Shaharyar also admitted the PCB, in hindsight, erred in making Azhar Ali the ODI skipper in the post-2015 World Cup scenario.

“I think we didn’t realize that the type of one-day cricket Pakistan had been playing was something akin to the game played in the 20th century, as pointed out by Mickey Arthur when he took over as head coach in 2016. Azhar, who otherwise is a very well-behaved and humble person, unfortunately couldn’t change the tempo and as a result we began to slip in the ICC [team] rankings,” the chairman explained. “Therefore, we went for Sarfraz Ahmed who I think has done a wonderful job so far as Pakistan T20 skipper. Now Sarfraz is someone who brings in a huge amount of energy and is dynamic as a leader. He has proved a brilliant choice in T20 and I’m sure he will succeed in changing the fortunes of Pakistan ODI team as well.”

Sharing details of his short trip to Sri Lanka, the PCB chairman revealed that it was an informal visit. “Actually, I had no intention of going in the first place and we could ask [PCB chief operating officer] Subhan Ahmad or someone else to go instead. But I went there at the invitation from president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena. As a chairman of the Asian Cricket Council, I delivered a dinner speech where the honourable president was also present,” he said.

“I took the opportunity of informally meeting the heads of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh boards and together we discussed several bilateral issues related to the series against both of them this year.

“Bangladesh are due to play Pakistan this year as per FTP scheduling but we are not in favour of going to Bangladesh for the third successive time. If they cannot come here then we could host them in Sri Lanka since hosting our ‘home’ matches in the UAE is now prohibitively expensive and we can’t afford that anymore.

“They are ready to send their high performance squad to Pakistan instead of the national side due to security reasons. Bangladesh have emerged as a much-improved team and we are keen to play them. There is the possibility of Bangladesh hosting the matches and the revenues generated from the series shared. But the likelihood is that we may play at an alternative venue like Sri Lanka,” he added before jokingly saying: “Frankly speaking, we could even play Bangladesh in India if the Indians allow us to play in their country!”

Shaharyar refused to predict a deadline regarding international cricket returning to Pakistan, but said the short visit by a World XI to the country later this year would help in some way. “We are due to host the World XI, assembled through the untiring efforts of Giles Clarke, for a T20 series that would hopefully lead to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” he stressed. “Apart from Lahore, matches will also be played in Karachi and Multan as part of our plans to prove that Pakistan is safe for the touring teams to play cricket here. The grounds in these cities are fabulous and matches must be played there.”

Answering another query, PCB supremo confirmed that former Pakistan paceman Kabir Khan would continue in his role as head coach of the women’s national team until the World Cup. “There was some misunderstanding that resulted in media saying Kabir had quit the job because on personal grounds. But I can confirm to you that Kabir remains as head coach of the Pakistan women’s team until the World Cup in England this July.”

Shaharyar, meanwhile, reiterated that he will quit as PCB chairman soon after the ICC meeting in London because of health reasons. “Look, I turned 83 last week and underwent open heart surgery last year. I feel that a younger person should take charge now. To be honest, I can’t combine cricket and teaching because I’ve been teaching at LUMS for a while and would want to serve my energy there after already handing in my resignation as chairman PCB.”

Courtesy : Dawn News

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