Pakistan’s Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq on Sunday called for life bans on anyone found guilty of fixing, adding that an investigation into five players threatened years of work to clean up the country’s image.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has provisionally suspended Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed on charges linked to spot-fixing and failure to report approaches by bookmakers during the recently-held Pakistan Super League.
The case, which is being investigated by a judicial commission, has revived memories of a 2010 scandal that involved the national team and deprived it of three top players including paceman Mohammad Amir, who has since made a comeback.
Misbah was appointed captain in the aftermath of that tainted series in England, and set about rebuilding the team with an ethos that emphasised discipline and integrity.
Misbah ul Haq demands life ban on fixers, says team worked hard after 2010 incident to regain image and current scandal ruined everything.— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) March 19, 2017
His team steadily climbed world rankings and rose briefly to number one last year.
Speaking about the latest suspensions to reporters on Sunday, he said: “Obviously it’s disappointing and there should be a law that once you have done something wrong you should not return to this field again.”
Pakistan’s rehabilitation on the international circuit had appeared to be complete last year when Misbah led the team on its first tour of England since the 2010 scandal, in a series praised for its sportsmanship.
The 42-year-old was subsequently awarded the International Cricket Council’s Spirit of Cricket award — testament to the high regard in which world cricket holds him.
“We did our best to clean the game up and the seven years of hard work and our image is now spoilt to a great extent. You cannot afford this again and again,” he said.
Misbah-ul-Haq "It appears the positive image for Pakistan cricket we had strived to build for the past 7 years has been wasted" #Cricket— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 19, 2017
Earlier this month Misbah shelved plans to retire and will now lead his team in next month’s three-match Test series in the West Indies starting on April 22.
Pakistan are desperate for a turnaround after suffering whitewashes in their last two series.
“It will be a tough series and we will not take West Indies lightly because they gave us a tough time in all three Tests last year,” said Misbah of Pakistan’s 2-1 win in the United Arab Emirates.
“The conditions there will be tough and the ball will spin so you can’t relax,” he added.
Pakistan will play four Twenty20 and three one-day internationals against West Indies before the Tests.
One of the most beloved footballers around the world, Ronaldinho recently announced through a video message that he will be visiting Pakistan in July 2017.
And as soon as the Barcelona and Brazilian icon made this announcement, Pakistani sports fans along with their cricket icon, Shahid Afridi, were overjoyed.
Afridi, through a set of tweets, has welcomed the Brazilian legend in his own way.
Ronaldinho too responded to him while explaining his excitement and anticipation to visit the country.
Feliz pelas palavras Shahid Afridi BOOM BOOM herói de críquete do Paquistão. Aguardo c grande expectativa minha visita ao Paquistão em julho— Ronaldinho Gaúcho (@10Ronaldinho) March 15, 2017
The Brazilian who recently became a club ambassador for FC Barcelona, will be playing a seven-a-side exhibition game during his visit.
And while Afridi takes Ronaldinho to a tour of Pakistan this summer, let’s just hope this brotherly love between our footballers and cricketers continues to ‘Boom Boom’.
The former captain, who was given a five-year ban from all forms of cricket after his role in the infamous 2010 spot-fixing scandal, could be set to return to the Test arena after a seven-year hiatus.
The 32-year-old’s domestic form has sparked calls for an international comeback, particularly given Pakistan’s indifferent form in Test cricket.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq and head coach Micky Arthur have yet to announce the squad for this month’s tour to the Caribbean, which starts with T20 and ODI matches before ending with a three-Test series at the end of April.