LAHORE - Former Pakistan cricket team captain Ramiz Raja has said that there is no place for the tainted players in the national team.

Talking to the members of Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) during the ‘meet the press’ here Monday, Ramiz said: “If I were in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) administration, I would have not allowed any match or spot fixers to be part of the Pakistan cricket team. They don’t deserve forgiveness as they had brought bad name to the country and its cricket, so deserved to be banned for life.

“I am saddened to see fixers at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), which is a role model place for our youngsters and tainted players must be kept away from such places. The presence of such corrupt cricketers leaves bad impression on the upcoming cricketers and encourages them to follow the suit,” he added.

About recent statement of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Pak-India bilateral series, the cricketer-turned-commentator said: “I do not understand this rhetoric. The Indian government has decided that they will not let people to people contact to take place. I fail to understand why the sport is dragged into these matters,” he added.

“Pakistan has a good and logical stance on bilateral series between the two neighbouring countries but India's stance is being criticized internationally. No one has right to make the best cricket rivalry hostage and it must not be politicized. India is depriving fans of both the countries witnessing their heroes in action against each other,” he added.

He said that present India government narrative is anti-Pakistan so they are trying to create a complete blockade for Pakistan-India relations and sports especially cricket. “Most of the sensible former cricketers on both sides want to see this rivalry go on but due to strong Indian stance, their voice isn't being heard. I feel the PCB’s case against the BCCI is a right decision and they must keep on asking India to play series as it is their due right.”

About Pakistan chance against New Zealand, Ramiz said: “Pakistan has a good chance to dominate against New Zealand. Pakistan has won the Champions Trophy so they should continue their winning streak and enter the field with all guns blazing.”

The former captain said the PCB should also follow steps of India and appoint a former Test cricketer to coach national junior (U-19) team. "I think the PCB should also consider appointing a former Test player just like India has done by appointing Rahul Dravid as India U-19 and A team coach.”

Raja insisted that at the youth level identifying individual talent and preparing them for the future was more important than team achievements. "I don't think winning is as important as recognising individuals who are talented and then educating and grooming them.”

He noted that when a former Test cricketer will be a teacher and mentor of youngsters, they will learn a lot and become better players and sportsmen. "Pakistan should also think on these lines because at the under-16 and under-19 levels, identifying individuals, who can be good investments for the future, is very important."

When Ramiz was part of the PCB, he brought drastic changes in the domestic cricket and introduced regional system to bring improvement at domestic level. When he was reminded about it, the former captain said that there is a dire need to improve regional setup to help consolidate the domestic structure. “I think regional system is still the best system, if regional heads and coaches work sincerely under the direction of the PCB, domestic cricket and cricketers are bound to excel.”