Former Pakistani batsman (PSL), Ramiz Raja has termed the potential involvement of the tainted trio of Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir and Salman Butt in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as “extremely dangerous” for the reputation of the tournament and advised the board to keep the players away.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had cleared Amir, Asif and Butt to return to all forms of cricket when their spot-fixing ban ended on September 2nd. However, the Pakistan Cricket board (PCB) postponed their comeback until February next year, around the same time the PSL gets underway.
But Ramiz said the trio should not be allowed to return to the national setup let alone be part of the PSL.
“I have solid views regarding this matter. The crime committed by them is unforgivable,” Ramiz said in an exclusive interview with DawnNews.
“I personally would never want them to be a part of the PSL as it is going to be extremely dangerous for the model of the event and image of Pakistan cricket,” the former captain said.
The 1992 World Cup winner expressed sheer disappointment over the PCB's decision to let Asif, Amir and Butt train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) as part of their rehabilitation.
He said that such cricketing institutions were built to provide a 'role model' enviroment for young players and the presence of the spot-fixing trio would have a negative impact on the emerging cricketers.
“They get special treatment at the NCA. They are provided with young players to train with, they get their clothes washed and have food at the academy. This is not acceptable.” said Ramiz.
Corruption in T20 leagues
The T20 leagues in India and Bangladesh have come under the scanner due to corruption and heavy involvement of money and led to the suspension of teams and players. And Ramiz did not write off the possibilities of a similar menace in the PSL.
“With involvement of money comes in the potential of corruption, but avoiding such circumstances totally depends on high quality management and organising skills.” said Ramiz
The former opener said that the induction of players who are currently an active part of the cricketing scene can help to curb chances of any nefarious activity as such players had a lot to lose if they got caught.
No lack of investors
The PSL, according to its organisers, is not facing any scarcity in terms of investors but the league has decided to feature just five teams in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
According to Ramiz there were at least 15 investors ready to buy teams.
“The first edition is going to be baby steps towards progress. We begin from small and go forward gradually.”
“The initial experiences are going to provide stability to the model and organisers will get a chance to learn from experiences and implement in the future editions when the PSL will be hopefully bigger.”
Ramiz revealed that owners will be allowed to sell their franchises and new ones will also make their way after the third edition of the PSL.
Pakistan's league would need to start off with a bang and Ramiz said playing surfaces would play an important role in making the event entertainment for audiences.
“If Chris Gayle comes to bat on a bowler friendly surface and is clean-bowled on the first ball, it is going to be a major turn off for the crowd which is expecting fireworks.”
Ramiz, who scored 5841 runs in 198 ODIs for Pakistan, accepted that bowlers had a slight disadvantage in the T20 format but he was of the opinion that smart bowlers worked their way out to put a stop the flow of runs.
“It's all about survival skills for the bowlers.”
“When they get hit, the bowlers are forced to incorporate innovation in their arsenal; out come the Doosras, the reverse-swingers and other survival instincts.” said an excited Ramiz Raja.
Impact on local players and coaches
Around 30 to 40 foreign coaches have already expressed a desire to coach franchise teams, according to PSL organisers but local staff would play an equally important role in the PSL.
According to Ramiz, the involvement of foreign backroom staff would be vital for local players and Pakistani coaches who will learn from their experiences.
“The assistant coaches and support staff will be from Pakistan as it provides a chance for the locals to learn from the world's best cricketing mentors,” said Ramiz.
The PSL has made mandatory for the franchises to play at least two under-19 players in their starting eleven.
Ramiz expressed excitement about the prospect of young Pakistani talent featuring with the best cricketers from around the world.
“The oppurtuinity to have international stars as team-mates and sharing the dressing room with them will provide a major boost to the growth of Pakistani young guns,” said the former batsman.
Ramiz said that having the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle as partners would be an “invaluable” and “priceless” experience for the under-19 cricketers.
He said that the lucrative packages for the young players are around a whopping Rupees 10 to 15 lac figure for just 14 days of cricket.
No interest from India
Ramiz revealed that no Indian cricketer had yet shown interest in the PSL. He said that politics was not the only reason for the lack of interest from across the border.
“I don't think that it's only about politics. There are many cricketing reasons too.”
“Indian players hardly participate in any T20 league apart from the IPL. They already represent a big league and I personally think that their franchises feel reluctant to let them play for some other team.”