We are trying to make our reputation better: Shahid Afridi. —Photo by AFP

MELBOURNE: Pakistan’s dashing all rounder Shahid Afridi has revealed that he refused to meet with convicted cricket match-fixer Mazhar Majeed after hearing rumours about the agent’s rogue operations.

Majeed, who along with Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif & Mohammad Amir were sent to jail in London for spot-fixing against England, had attempted to lure Afridi into his web.

“Majeed wanted to talk to me but I had heard rumours about this guy, I didn’t talk to him,” Afridi told Daily Telegraph Wednesday upon arriving in Melbourne for the Big Bash, Australia’s new Twenty/20 cricket competition starting this week.

“My God has given me everything, my father worked hard so I could have everything, why would I need to do these things?”

Afridi said he never suspected that his former teammates could be involved in fixing and added that nobody has ever asked him to fix results.

Pakistan’s reputation has taken a battering following the revelations, but Afridi believes the current crop of players can defy the stigma and return the nation to its previous position as a respected cricketing power. “I feel ashamed about what happened in the past, there are a lot of bad things that have happened,” said Afridi.

“But we can learn from our past. If you look at our performances since these issues came up, we lost by one game in the one-dayers against England, we lost 3-2 to South Africa but it was a good effort winning those two games. We won against New Zealand in New Zealand, and we made semi-finals of the World Cup, nobody expected us to do that.”

“The team is doing a great job, we’re going through a very tough situation and we are playing as a unit. We are trying to make our reputation better. Nowadays in cricket, there is money everywhere for good players, so if you get this money there is no reason to be involved in this stuff. But this is a great example for everyone, not just Pakistan, about [dangers of match-fixing].”

Afridi prepares for the Big Bash, and he’ll make his first appearance in Melbourne for the Renegades on Dec 22 at Etihad Stadium. One of world’s best hitters and Pakistan’s leading short-form wicket-taker for past four years, he plans to dominate the tournament.

“I am here as a professional so I should do well in each and every game,” said Afridi, who returned from a five-month hiatus to play in Pakistan’s recent series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The expectation is very high for me. The club is expecting a lot and the people back home want to see me performing.”

Afridi heads an exciting troop of overseas invaders in the nation’s Twenty20 Big Bash.

And power-hitting former West Indies captain Chris Gayle is also favoured by leading online sports experts.

Other stars taking part include Herschelle Gibbs, Michael Lumb, Kieron Pollard, Brendon McCullum and Owais Shah.

Afridi’s countrymen Rana Naved and Abdul Razzaq are also expected to figure prominently among the wickets, according to experts.—Agencies


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