ISLAMABAD     -    Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association (PDCA) Director Saleem Karim has rubbished the claims made by certain quarters regarding rifts in the top management in the association, saying he has sidelined himself due to family issues and have complete faith in the current management.

Talking to The Nation, Saleem, who is also honorary patron-in-chief of the association, said: “I started disabled’s hardball cricket a decade ago while also introduced it in the world. The disabled cricketers used to play with soft balls but now it is played in different countries.

“It is not true that the association is ignoring me or not giving me proper respect. Once I was at a match, when Basit Ali called me asked me to sit in the dugout, but an official came to me and barred me from sitting there. I had remembered that and I didn’t want to compromise on my respect, that’s why I sit with officials not with players, as if someone asks me to leave the place, it will be insulting,” he added.

The PDCA Director said that they are grateful to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for always lending a helping hand to PDCA. The England tour cost us around Rs 12 million, while we received only Rs 9 million. Now CM Sindh has announced Rs 5 million grant for the PDCA. All those, who are leveling baseless allegations against the PDCA, are welcome to check our accounts. After expenditure of this series in England, we had Rs 3 million available with the association.

“I salute Amir-ud-Din Ansari for his brave efforts. It is a thankless job as people don’t realise, how much efforts he and others had to put-in to collect money for the association, which is doing fantastic job for the disabled cricketers of the country,” he added.

Saleem admitted that Pakistan disabled team cricket team’s performance isn’t up to the mark in the 5-nation World Series in England. “We lost first two matches very closely, just because of poor fielding. We played well, but sometimes luck is not at your side. It doesn’t mean that the PDCA is sleeping and unaware of the situation.

“In the past, there were only few teams while Afghanistan and Indian teams were not good enough to pose threats to the opponents. I met with Afghanistan disabled cricket officials, who informed me that they have a month-long camp of the team in India, which helped them playing exceptional cricket during the event. On the other hand, we have hardly 10 days camp in Karachi. I can assure you all that Pakistan disabled team will work on all major areas and bounce back in style to win all major titles,” he added.

He said as far as his availability for the PDCA is concerned, he doesn’t have time and have already informed the management three years back about his family issues. “I have spent a lot of money from my own pocket and will help the PDCA, whenever they need my support. My best wishes and prayers are always with them.

“The rain was major factor between Pakistan and India match, which was to be played on Friday but was called off and now will be played tomorrow (Monday). I am hopeful that Pakistan team will beat India and book place in semifinals,” Saleem concluded.