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Following intense pressure and criticism surrounding the inclusion of Salman Butt in the PCB selection committee, chief selector Wahab Riaz has decided to revert his decision. In a statement addressing the controversy, Riaz emphasized the need for people to move on from past incidents, noting that Butt had already served his punishment for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal in 2010.
Riaz defended his initial choice, citing Butt’s cricketing acumen as the primary reason for considering him as a consultant. However, he acknowledged the prevailing sentiment and opted to rescind the decision in the face of mounting backlash.
The former cricketer asserted that the decision was entirely his own, emphasizing that there was no external pressure influencing the reversal. He urged the public to understand the importance of moving forward in life and not dwelling on past transgressions.
He also hinted at a potential agenda aimed at tarnishing the image of the cricket board, expressing his commitment to preventing any harm to the PCB’s reputation. In taking back his decision, Riaz aimed to avoid unnecessary controversy and ensure the integrity of the organization he is a part of, signaling a pragmatic approach to handling the situation.
Wahab Riaz’s statements shows he has only reverted decision due to pressure
In his statements, he added,
“I think people should move on. Whatever happened was some time ago, and he (Salman Butt) served his punishment. For me, he is a good cricketing mind, and that’s why I wanted him as a consultant. There is no pressure on me – it was my decision, and I am the one who has reverted this decision as well. People need to understand that you should move on in life, but I think some people perhaps started running an agenda because they wanted to cast dirt on the cricket board and extract personal benefit out of insulting PCB. Since I am a part of this organization, I didn’t want any such thing to happen, especially due to my decision, so I took it back.”
The inclusion of Salman Butt, a central figure in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, in the PCB selection committee has ignited controversy and criticism. This decision by the board has not only raised eyebrows among cricket enthusiasts but has also shocked many former cricketers. The move to appoint Butt, along with Kamran Akmal and Rao Iftikhar Anjum, as “consultants” to chief selector Wahab Riaz has drawn scrutiny.
How former cricketers reacted on Salman Butt’s appointment?
Former test player Sarfaraz Nawaz, who has been a staunch advocate against corruption in cricket, expressed dismay at the decision. Having faced life threats from the cricket mafia, Nawaz relocated to England and was disheartened to learn about the PCB’s perceived indifference between clean and tainted players. He contemplated writing a letter to PCB Management Committee chairman Zaka Ashraf, emphasizing the potential damage this decision could inflict on Pakistan cricket’s reputation.
“All my life I have been fighting against this menace and had to shift to England under growing life threats from the mafia. When I came to know that the PCB is making no difference in clean and tainted players, I was shocked.”
“Why were these even considered for any post under the present regime? I am seriously thinking of writing a letter to PCB Management Committee chairman Zaka Ashraf highlighting the issue which will bring a bad name to Pakistan cricket,” Nawaz lamented.
“This is not an ordinary decision but one that will have far-reaching implications. It is something serious. Look for what these tainted cricketers are there to help the chief selector in picking the talented players for future international commitments. I am afraid that such a practice would leave a bad image on the country’s cricket. That should not have happened. It is very unfortunate that tainted players were included on the panel. It is also against the NA/Senate Committees findings and recommendations.”
Abdur Rouf Khan, another test cricketer, voiced his regret over choosing education instead of involving himself in match-fixing. He sarcastically remarked about the easier path of match-fixing compared to his years of academic dedication. The decision to include tainted players in the selection panel has wider implications, as it contradicts the findings and recommendations of the National Assembly/Senate Committees.
He penned out,
As a Test cricketer, I regret that I chose the field of education instead of match-fixing.I should have chosen the easier field of match-fixing instead of wasting 18 years doing an MPhil in sports science and doing three master’s degrees so that I could get a bigger position in PCB
As a Test cricketer,I regret that I chose the field of education instead of match-fixing.I should have chosen the easier field of match-fixing instead of wasting 18 years doing an MPhil in sports science and doing three masters degrees so that I could get a bigger position in PCB
— Abdur Rouf Khan (@AbdurRoufKhan6) December 2, 2023
This controversial move is viewed as a departure from the commitment to clean and transparent cricket. The concern is not just about the past actions of these players but the potential impact on the country’s cricketing image, especially as they are involved in selecting talent for future international commitments. The cricket community is left questioning the rationale behind such appointments and its repercussions for the integrity of the sport in Pakistan.
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