Ban on Sohail Lost to Country's Cricket

Ban on Sohail Lost to Country's Cricket

Post by Masu » Fri, 25 Apr 1997 04:00:00

   Ban on Sohail loss to country's cricket
   Lateef Jafri

   A second cricket ban of two years on national opening batsman, Aamir
   Sohail, when an earlier penalisation of one month had just lapsed, has
   been termed as too harsh by the game's observers. They think that the
   country and its cricket will be the losers when there is a dearth of
   organised and experienced openers and Saeed Anwar's fitness is a
   question mark.

   Will Rameez Raja in his decline and at the age 35 be tested again and
   again? Or will Salim Elahi go through the mill even though he lacks
   the big-match temperament, ask the enthusiasts of the game?

   This appears to be a crisis period for the national squad. The injury
   to the fearful pacer, Waqar Younis, was a hard blow to the side just
   on the eve of the first Test in Sri Lanka, when captain Wasim Akram
   had a suspect shoulder. No doubt Mohammad Zahid and Shahid Nazir are
   fine prospects and have the energy to go on and on, even on
   unresponsive strips, they do not belong to the class of Wasim and
   Waqar; neither they are as hardened campaigners as the two renowned
   Ws. Many are worried that the all-rounder Shahid Afridi, a courageous
   slogger and a clever spinner, may be shunted out of team for good. He
   did not get the selectors' nod for the Lankan trip.

   There are also reports of differences between Ijaz Ahmad, a forceful
   stroke-maker, and the board supremo, Majid Khan. If media reports one
   to be taken as true Majid raised objections to Ijaz taking over the
   role of Wasim's deputy during the captain's absence from the field in
   Sharjah. It was Rameez's beat, according to Majid. But why Rameez did
   not take the initiative, ask the fans of the game who feel that Ijaz
   has the wrist leverage to score at a fast pace confidently, be it a
   Test match or a one-dayer.

   Will Salim Malik be able to retain his place in the outfit with the
   daily allegations of match-fixing and *** directed against him?
   Where will be the balance and strength in the conglomerate, the
   puzzled cricket lovers want to know? Already Rashid Lateef, a vigorous
   hitter of the ball and a quick stumper, and Basit Ali are not getting
   their due chance in the squad. Aqib Javed, a talented pacer, too has
   been forced to sit on the sidelines. Is the Pakistan team being
   deliberately weakened by the board officialdom? Or a search is going
   on for fresh *** for the 1999 World Cup, set to be played on the
   turning wickets of England!

   Apparently the first action against Aamir Sohail, whatever may be the
   explanation of the board's disciplinary panel, was taken on flimsy
   grounds. If at all the family members of a noted Test and one-day
   international player are harsly treated in the pavilion of the Qadhafi
   Stadium he will feel insulted; he will react emotionally. The
   disciplinary committee of the PCB instead of understanding the
   sensitive nature of the incident slapped a ban on Sohail of one month,
   a short one but still it disallowed him to take part in any cricketing

   As soon as the first ban had run its course the same two members the
   third member of the committee abstained from the deliberations of the
   panel though he reportedly concurred with the nature of the
   penalisation asked the cricketer to appear before them for
   questioning. The charge: violating the code of conduct for publicly
   levelling some allegations which degraded the team and tarnished the
   image of the country. The allegations of betting and match fixing are
   not new; they are finding space in the print media for the last few
   years. Certainly the foreign critics are *** up a campaign
   against Pakistan cricket and creating doubts over its strength and

   Even Javed Burki during his tenure as chairman of the ad hoc
   committee, after having seen the documents at the ICC headquarters at
   Lord's, had acknowledged its seriousness and had promised to take
   severe action against the cricketers in this nefarious game, which
   reportedly had its beginning in the home series against Australin
   (1994-95). The rumours of match-fixing were even rife during
   Pakistan's February 1995 tour of Zimbabwe. Burki did not initiate any
   steps for investigation and action but recently made a complete U-turn
   by denying that he had expressed any such opinion. The disciplinary
   committee, while making known its verdict, insisted that the Test
   all-rounder should have provided proof of his charges. The board, the
   committee felt, cannot take action just on complaints; they had to be
   substantiated with proof.

   Aamir Sohail, while sticking to his stand, was of the view that he had
   submitted the needed documentary evidence to the Ministry of Sports,
   to which the disciplinians had their reservations. Besides they were
   not asked by the Ministry to stop the process of probe.

   The opening batsman, having served the country to the best of his
   ability, termed the board panel's decision "an act of victimisation."
   He will be out of action upto April 1999, the cut-off date for
   selection to the next World Cup squad. Being caught in the whirlpool
   of bias, will he be considered for the national side?

   Many veteran cricketers, organisers and analysts feel that making
   public statements and maligning the team-mates comes under the
   mischief of code of conduct. The charges should have been detailed in
   a proper manner, if at all the board was to take up the issue for a
   thorough probe and inquiry. However, they are of the view that though
   betting and *** had their origin from the days that cricket
   started as a recreative pursuit in the village green of England, it
   has become an international phenomenon nowadays. The cartels are
   active in major Indian cities, Sharjah, England, Australia and the
   Caribbean islands. However, throwing of the ties and match-fixing as
   addenda to the international *** and betting are new evils which
   cannot but be condemned.

   The Australians Tim May, Shane Warne and Mark Waugh had complained
   against the offer of bribe by Salim Malik, then captaining Pakistan in
   the matches on the Australian tour of this country (1994-95 season)
   but Mr Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, a former Supreme Court Judge,
   forming a one-man inquiry committee, wanted the Australians to give
   evidence before him. The complainants refused to turn up and the whole
   case crumbled.

   The disease was infectious. The corruption later spread to Zimbabwe
   while the Pakistanis were on tour there under the leadership of Salim
   Malik. Even though the Zimbabweans recorded their first surprise
   victory in a Test against Pakistan (February 1995) and voices were
   raised against match-fixing and a case of a repetition of *** no
   notice was taken by the Pakistani board. As recent as this month the
   bookies were active in Sharjah and there were doubts that results in
   the round-robin stage of the triangular, if not in the final, were

   If the Pakistan Cricket Board is not going to launch a full-scale
   inquest under neutral personages viz retired members of the higher
   judiciary, will the Government of Pakistan step in to start an inquiry
   of their own into this malaise and try to scotch this element from the
   body of Pakistan cricket.

   The severe action against Aamir Sohail, right or wrong, should goad
   the Government into action and it should do what the board has failed
   to do to save Pakistan's cricket from further infamy.

   It is not known if Sohail will make an appeal to the Chief Executive
   of the PCB. Though the disciplinary committee considers itself to be
   autonomous the Test cricketer may yet move a prayer to the higher
   tiers of the board, the Executive Council and the General Body, which
   may go into the matter in an objective way.

   Former Test captains, cricketers and others have been saddened by the
   ban on Aamir Sohail. Hanif Mohammad, known throughout the world for
   his cricket exploits, considers the action as too severe. A fine may
   have been sufficient.

   Intikhab Alam, former captain and manager, said Sohail was a little
   bit hot-tempered but that was a challenge for the management to
   handle. On the whole Intikhab found him to be a team-man, a fighter to
   the core, a quality player, the career of whom scintillates as an
   opening batsman and a shrewd spinner.

   Some have pointed to the misdemeanours of Brian Lara, Dennis Lillee
   and Ian Botham. Lara still is playing the role of an Eminent Grise for
   the West Indies while Botham and Lillee gave their full value to the
   English and Australian teams.

   One expects the PCB panel to have a second look at its action and give
   a chance to Aamir Sohail, a daring and valiant batsman, to serve the
   national squad as well as he had continued to do.

   (Dawn Newspaper