Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Arif Ali Khan Abbasi threw his weight around deposed chairman of the board Zaka Ashraf, terming Pakistan’s stance against the controversial International Cricket Council (ICC) revamp as “honourable.”
In an interview with Dawn.com, Abbasi also criticised the government for the treatment meted out to Ashraf, who was sacked on the orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also the PCB patron-in-chief, for “mishandling Pakistan's case in the recent changes brought in the ICC.”
Pakistan abstained from the voting in the ICC Board meeting last week in which the three biggest cricketing nations — India, Australia and England — got a majority of the powers in the sport's governing body, securing the required eight votes from the 10 full members.
Sri Lanka also abstained from voting on the grounds that it needed more time to look into the changes of the ICC setup.
“Pakistan and Zaka Ashraf had no choice but to oppose the controversial revamp and I think the stance has been justified keeping in mind the damning findings in the Justice Mugdal report on the IPL corruption scandal. These are not the just anybody’s findings, it is India’s Supreme Court that we are talking about,” Abbasi, who held the post of the chief executive at the PCB between 1994 and 1996, said.
“The decision by the ICC to allow the revamp is foolish. It should be reviewed now because if people linked with corruption are going to be handling the finances of ICC then what more can we say? So I don’t buy the notion that Pakistan position in international was weakened. The people who are giving that as a reason to sack the PCB chief know nothing about cricket or the politics of cricket.”
Abbasi was also of the opinion that Pakistan was treading a fine line with constant interference from the government in running the affairs of the PCB.
“All the boards are like companies and the ICC is also like a company, hence there are rules that you abide by. Ad-hocism means there are now laws as such but it also means it’s something temporary, transitional. But we have had this for 15 years now. How is that temporary? I think we have received enough warnings but we keep on proving that there is government interference in the running of the board.”