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Lorgat: I have no individual conflict with Ijaz Butt

Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Haroon LorgatLAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said his organisation has good relations with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the game of cricket will not get affected by recent problems since it is bigger than any individual.

Holding a teleconference with a group of Pakistani journalists on Wednesday, Lorgat said: “I have no individual conflict with Mr Ijaz Butt (PCB chairman). The game is bigger than any individual and I would not want to hold Pakistan cricketers responsible for what you might consider a poor relationship between two individuals, and there is none. Whoever the person is in the board, I am prepared to work with him.”

“I met Mr Ijaz Butt a few weeks ago and I will continue to meet him to inform him what I believe is right, what I think he should be doing. He will take responsibility for leading the PCB and for his own actions, but I will continue to work with him.”

However, he advised the PCB chairman that he should be careful in giving his statement to the press.

Ijaz, in a scathing outburst early this month, had said that there was loud and clear talk in the bookies’ circles that England players had earned enormous sum to deliberately lose the third ODI against Pakistan at the Oval.

That had triggered a legal war between the PCB and the ECB and the Ijaz was asked to apologise to the England cricketers for his accusations.

Moreover, the PCB chairman had also waged a war against Lorgat on the matter of suspending three Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir after the spot-fixing scandal at Lord’s.

“The ICC is following the matter of Ijaz’s allegations on England players and have written a letter to him because it all shows he (Ijaz) might have some solid evidence that will also help us,” he said.

“However, I would have been more satisfied if Ijaz Butt had made a direct approach to ACSU (ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit) and provided whatever information and evidence he has got that could have been helpful for relations between PCB and ECB,” said Lorgat.

Asked what kind of role the ICC would play to bring things back on the track after the recent conflict-like situation between the PCB and the ECB, Lorgat said the ICC has been watching the situation and if it would find any space it would like to play its due role.

Lorgat, to a question, clarified that no ICC member had refused Pakistan its venues for organising their home series.

He said he did not agree with former England captain Ian Botham’s proposal to ban Pakistan cricket following the spot-fixing row.

“We can’t ban any nation from the game for the mistakes of a few individuals,” he said. “There are other provisions within the ICC that allows suspension of members but that is certainly not something we are contemplating.”

“In fact, I have seen confirmation from South Africa in continuing their series against Pakistan at the neutral venues of the UAE later this year, and I know New Zealand are also confirming their FTP commitment to the PCB quite soon.”

To a question, Lorgat said the ECB Chairman Giles Clarke would continue to head the ICC task force which was formed to take measures and steps for resumption of international cricket in Pakistan.

He felt that the current situation between the PCB and ECB should not affect the working of the task force. “We all want to be mature and be above some of the issues that are going on,” Lorgat suggested.

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