Former Pakistan batsman and cricket commentator Ramiz Raja has said — while talking to media on Sunday — that no lessons were learned by the PCB after Mohammad Amir was picked once again in the national side after being proven guilty in the spot-fixing scandal that resulted in him, along with two other players, being banned from International cricket.
He was talking in regards to the corruption allegations that surfaced during the second season of Pakistan Super League (PSL), where the PCB had provisionally suspended two of the key Islamabad United players — Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif — as a part of the ongoing investigation into the alleged corruption attempts.
Three of the other Islamabad United players – Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hassan, and Zulfiqar Babar – were also questioned the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Unit as a part of the investigation, but were allowed to play the second season of the PSL.
“We took a pledge at the wonderful opening ceremony [on Thursday]. We also stood up for the national anthem. And the very next day this happened. This is horrendous, extremely painful,” Ramiz said.
“We did not want it. Pakistan has gone through hell because of such situations. One more [scandal] to deal with I guess. No lessons were learned from the [Mohammad] Amir saga.”
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The 52-year-old also voiced his concerns regarding the inclusion of the players who were involved in the notorious spot-fixing scandal that brought Pakistan cricket into disrepute.
“I wanted to make them [Amir and co] examples and not bring them back into the system,” he said. “It is a straight-forward call for me but I was not in charge of the decision. I just gave my opinion. Now it has come back to bite us, unfortunately.”
“There is no way such individuals should be allowed back into the game,” said Ramiz. “The game of cricket has to move on and we can always have someone to replace him. No one is indispensable. We got it absolutely wrong.”
Raja also suggested following the examples of Australia’s Big Bash League and England’s county cricket, which – according to him – are ‘more or less free from corruption’.
“This is not a Pakistan-centric issue. We have to join forces to end this menace. We can create an awareness movement and a healthy environment. Maybe we need to study the BBL and even English Country cricket which are more or less corruption free. Asia is pretty affected by this menace,” said Ramiz.
He also discarded assumptions that the PSL will face a major setback due to the ongoing scandal, and said PSL management and players should take lessons from the ongoing case.
“I don’t think it is a setback,” he said. “We have got England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan here. We have got Brendon McCullum. The talent pool is very good. There is a lot of interest in the PSL. Now the final will be in Lahore; every foreign player is ready to cooperate to make it happen. The integrity of the PSL was at stake and the PCB took a prompt decision, which is right and transparent. They have learned their lessons from past and know the value of a quick decision.”
“While effort is being made to ensure such things don’t happen [again], it is impossible to completely root out corruption. All you can do is give them a healthy environment and explain [to the players] the pros and cons of this kind of activity. Hopefully, this will be a lesson for other guys. Hopefully, we will also learn as an organisation and as a PSL product.”
On the question of whether the former spot-fixing culprits be allowed to return to the national side, Ramiz said: “Of course not!.”
Featured Photo Credit: t_kaay/Flickr