ISLAMABAD - Former Test pacer Sarfraz Nawaz gave 15 days time to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar M Khan to tender unconditional apology or be ready for court battle.
Talking to The Nation, Sarfraz asked why Shaharyar Khan was defending Najam Sethi. “Shaharyar or the PCB had nothing to do with Sethi and mine issue. I have never issued false or fabricated statements against Sethi, if that was the case, he could have sent him contempt of court notice. It is purely professional issue between me and Sethi, and I, being a former Test player, can’t see cricket illiterate persons inflicting huge damages on Pakistan cricket, which is going down with each passing day and everyday a new scandal about green caps becomes breaking news for different channels, which provides international media an opportunity to play with the emotions and feelings of millions of Pakistanis.”
Sarfraz said he had no expectations with FIA findings or statement given by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan regarding stern action against spot-fixers and all those, who brought Pakistan cricket into dispute. “I want a simple answer from Ch Nisar, when in 2015 World Cup played at Australia and New Zealand, Pakistan team performance was the worst ever, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had ordered him to conduct a detailed inquiry into the entire issue and submit detailed report to him, what happened to that inquiry? Where those findings have gone? How many players and actual culprits were given punishment? Who were held responsible in the report?
“Answer is simple that nothing in practical was done. The reason is simple that nobody wants to clean Pakistan cricket from these handful cheaters, who just have lust of money and want to play more with the sentiments of the millions of Pakistanis,” he added.
“I have always advocated tough action against all those involved in bringing the cricket into dispute and sold motherland for money. These people deserve no sympathy and must be dealt with iron hand. All those, who have a tainted role, must be given exemplary punishments and kept away from any role in the PCB, as it is the only way to save Pakistan cricket from further downfall,” he asserted.
Sarfraz said he had made it very clear well before the start of the second edition of Pakistan Super League that betting mafia had their agents in each and every team and they had hired the services of 3 to 4 players in every franchise, but no heed was paid in this regard. “Had the PCB and other security agencies taken timely action and precautionary measures, Pakistan cricket would have never fallen to new lows and the PSL reputation could have been sky high. I believe there is still time left, if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is PCB patron-in-chief, take things into his own hands, conduct inquiry, formulate inquiry commission based on neat and clean people including former Test cricketers.
“I have never demanded any favour from the PCB or any other circle, because being an ambassador of Pakistan cricket, it is my national and moral responsibility to safeguard the rights of cricket and cricketers and ensure no one may inflict bad name on Pakistan and its team. Any further delay in action on part of the PM can spell disaster and Pakistan cricket will suffer badly.
He said: “All the players involved in the PSL spot-fixing as well as tainted persons and coaches should be immediately removed and must be banned for life. If they aren’t banned or barred from cricket, they will continue to play with national dignity for money. I request former greats to stand for the sake of Pakistan cricket, I am ready to fight the battle single-handedly in the best interest of the cricket in general and Pakistan in particular.”
“I am returning in the last week of this month, if Shahryar Khan fails to submit written apology, he should be prepared to face legal proceedings,” Sarfraz concluded.