Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has said that he was afraid to watch himself on the television after reporting a suspicious spot-fixing approach from a bookie during the recently concluded five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Sarfraz said he was relieved that the episode was over but still felt a certain nervousness watching himself play on television despite reporting the approach as soon as possible.
“Whatever happened, it is done and I did what I was supposed to do. But I wasn’t frightened after informing; in fact, I was more scared watching myself on TV. I was discussed on TV so much that at some stage I started to feel fear. But by the grace of Allah, everything is getting normal. When you are going into a series you need to be normal and everything is going good so far,” the skipper said.
Sarfraz had duly reported the matter to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit officials during the series which Pakistan swept 5-0.
Pakistan’s South African coach Mickey Arthur had commended his skipper for his integrity and stated that Sarfraz was a role model for other players in the team.
“To be honest the player reacted unbelievably well, he did everything required of him and we had a chat straight afterwards. It was handled brilliantly and I think that is a real example to our team and to the cricket world that a really important player was approached and acted to the letter of the law and did exceptionally well as a true ambassador of the game.
“I am very comfortable with our players, they are outstanding and I have no doubt that if anyone is approached they will do the same way as the individual did,” Arthur added.
Australia skipper Steve Smith has shed light on the infamous DRS row during his side’s tour of India for a four-match Test series earlier this year.
Opposing counterpart Virat Kohli had fuelled suggestions that the Aussies had indulged in systemic abuse of the DRS with on-field batsmen seeking help from the dressing room before making a decision on whether to review a particular call.
In his book, The Journey, Smith recounted Kohli’s accusations of cheating and rubbished the Indian skipper’s claims.
“It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised what a talking point it had become, fuelled by Kohli’s post-match claims that we’d called on off-field assistance twice earlier in the match to help our on-field deliberations,” Smith wrote in his book.
The incident Smith was referring to came during the second Test of the series in Bengaluru with the visitors 1-0 up following their unexpected triumph at Pune. Batting in the fourth innings, Smith was adjudged lbw by Nigel Long and had sought the opinion of the non-striker, Peter Handscomb, on whether to review the call.
Handscomb had in turn motioned to the dressing room for an answer and following this, Long had promptly Smith back without the luxury of a review.
“As far as I was concerned, we’d never tried to consult with the dressing room beforehand and although he said he’d brought those previous occasions to the notice of the umpires, I can say categorically that we were never spoken to by either those umpires or match referee Chris Broad about any such breaches in protocol,” Smith adds in his book.
Smith poured cold water over Kohli’s claims and said that he had been surprised that the Indian captain had taken things so far.
“Virat has always been a player who’s thrived in the most intense of environments, and like me he loves a battle and I can only think it was his way of raising the temperature in the series in an attempt to get the best out of himself. The idea of getting messages from the sidelines for that purpose was not a tactic we as a team ever spoke about. I can’t work out what he was referring to in his remarks,” Smith said in another passage from his book.
“There was never anything further on the matter from the ICC and Virat never detailed the incidents he was referring to. And during the brief interactions we had – including at the captain’s briefing for the IPL as that tournament followed the series – he was friendly and it was as if any ill-feeling he may have had over the incident had disappeared. It was and still is all a big mystery to me.”
India had managed to overturn Australia’s win at Pune to claim the series 2-1 in a hard-fought manner.
India skipper Virat Kohli continues to make headlines both on and off the pitch. The batting sensation only recently overtook Australian legend Ricky Ponting to become the second highest century-maker in ODIs following his 121-run knock in the first match against New Zealand.
There was even more good news for the skipper after Forbes released a list of the most valuable athletes in the world with the Indian batsman occupying the seventh spot.
Kohli’s brand value has been pegged ahead of Barcelona football star Lionel Messi and NBA outfit Golden State Warriors’ stalwart Stephen Curry.
Top 10 most valuable athletes
The cricket superstar’s brand value has been estimated to be $14.5 million by Forbes. The brand value of an athlete has been estimated by his total earnings (excluding salary and bonus from their sport and all investment income) minus the average income of the top 10 athletes playing the same sport.
Tennis great Roger Federer occupies the top spot in the list with a brand value of $37.2million with NBA star LeBron James ($33.4 million) and sprint legend Usain Bolt ($27 million) placed at second and third spot respectively.
In the fourth spot lies Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo with a brand value of $21.5 million while golfer Tiger Woods lies in sixth spot despite his recent struggles.
No other cricketer featured in the top 10 list by Forbes with the Indian Premier League (IPL) also failing to find a spot in the top 10 most valuable sport leagues around the globe.
Top 10 most valuable sporting events