Khalid Mahmood, one of the most controversial person ever headed Pakistan Cricket Board, has claimed in his recent tv interview that since Javed Miandad had not provided him proofs about players’ involvement in match fixing, therefore, he didn’t hold any inquiry against them.
Can any chairman of the Board ignore a complaint from a former great of Pakistan cricket who demanded an inquiry against the players? Only Khalid had the nerves to set aside the complaint.
However, neither Khalid is naïve nor we, sports journalists, have short memory to ignore his false claim.
Khalid headed the Board from January 1998 to July 1999. He is considered amongst few Board heads who couldn’t complete their tenure and were forced to leave in a disgraceful manner. Here are some events and findings to recall Khalid’s lost memory which certainly carried substantiate substance for him to initiate such an inquiry that Miandad had demanded.
Match fixing in international cricket went on rampage in 1990’s and Pakistan cricket was not an exception. Before Khalid joined PCB, former Test opener Aamir Sohail had blown the first whistle when he publicly alleged his teammates for match fixing in March 1997.
Taking notice of Amir’s interview to an English newspaper, PCB had appointed a Probe Committee headed by Justice (retd) Ijaz Yousaf to investigate into the allegations levelled by the left-handed opening batsman.
Nusrat Azeeem, Mian Munir were other members of the Committee. After two month long deliberations, the Committee found enough substance against Wasim Akram, Saleem Malik and Ijaz Ahmed and recommended that they should be kept away from the team and must not be considered for selection in Pakistan team further. “This would indeed be an irony of fate that such renowned cricketers should fall a prey to greed and such misconduct spoiling some others as well as beneficiaries and therefore creating division and despondency in the team resulting in failure and collapse at international level to bring only ignominy to the country,” the Committee report added.
The report was presented to PCB in August 1998 when Khalid was heading the Board. Should we believe that the former bureaucrat had no time to read that report or the legal advisor of the Board had not briefed him about Committee’s findings and recommendations?
Khalid should have been suspended suspected players there and then as recommended in the report which had also provided him enough substance to initiate an investigation against the players. Who stopped him? Was he part of match fixing mafia? We don’t know for sure but Khalid was certainly lenient towards Wasim, Salim and Ijaz and his leniency greatly damaged Pakistan cricket. We are still bearing the consequences of Khalid’s silly behavior.
Khalid’s mishandling PCB affairs and the probe committee report made a mess of Board affairs which forced the Patron to impose an Ad hoc. Mujeebur Rehman, was appointed chairman of the Ad hoc Committee who immediately suspended Wasim, Salim and Ijaz in wake of findings in the report. Khalid could have done this. He must avoid misleading passionate cricket followers.