ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports on Tuesday recommended to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to give a patient hearing to the dejected former skipper Younis Khan within a span of eight days.
The committee which met here at NA secretariat, with Iqbal Mohammad Ali Khan in chair took serious note of delay on PCB’s part over a number of issues including listing of the facts related to spot-fixing scam, ex-team manager Yawar Saeed’s failure in submission of a report over the controversial England tour, team coach Waqar Younis and chief selector Mohsin Khan’s differences over selection and matter related to continuous omission of Younis Khan.
The committee members asked the PCB officials to hear out Younis’ grievances and sort out the issue of his continued omission from the national side. “We will direct Younis to contact the PCB and the board should resolve the matters relating to him within a week,” said Saud Majeed, a PML (N) legislator.
PCB’s legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi assured the committee that they would look into problems relating to Younis issue and would resolve them soon.
Though the committee members could not get insightful information about the spot-fixing scam involving three Pakistani cricketers, Tafazzul said: “We don’t want the players to get into any trouble if there is discussion on the said matter here at the NA forum. We can brief you later about the whole episode.”
Tafazzul’s stance was accepted by the committee and Saud said: “The matter can be discussed in-camera.”
While several key matters relating to national security and other sensitive issues are often discussed in-camera, it is the first time that the match-fixing scam will be discussed in-camera which is bound to leave the nation guessing on what really went wrong with the Pakistani cricketers in England.
Khawaja Najam, a former military officer, who was assigned to look after the team’s security during the tour of England informed: “The two men [Mazhar Majeed and Azhar Majeed] were never allowed to enter the rooms of the players in the hotel and were also not allowed to enter the dressing room.”
Former manager Yawar Saeed, however, added that Mazhar Majeed had acted as an agent for several cricketers during the last ten years. “He [Mazhar Majeed] has acted as an agent for last several years for many players,” he remarked.
Ms Tasneem Siddiqui, another PML (N) legislator, then asked Yawar: “Did he [Mazhar Majeed] act as an agent for Shahid Afridi?” to which PCB’s Chief Operating Officer Wasim Bari replied: “I think he [Mazhar Majeed] was never associated with Afridi.”
At one point Yawar was grilled by Sports Minister Aijaz Jakhrani over match-fixing issue and why he could not provide a comprehensive report to the NA body. Jakhrani’s loud voice certainly shook up the veteran official who quickly conceded there was a delay on his part regarding the report. “I will submit a detailed report within 15 days regarding the England tour,” said Yawar.
Team coach Waqar Younis, when asked to speak about the disastrous England tour, looked clearly unhappy and said: “I was never consulted by the selection committee over the team composition and this is not for the first time that this has happened.”
“During the selection of Twenty20 World Cup team, I was totally snubbed by the selectors,” added Waqar and was surprisingly supported by Bari on the matter.
However, Chief Selector Mohsin Khan, looking clearly annoyed over Waqar’s criticism, said that the practice of consulting the coach was still on but the circumstances were different during the tour of England.
“I am following the best practice. When the team for the England tour was announced, the coach was not even in Pakistan,” said the chief selector. Waqar then added that consultation would have been better to come up with the best possible combination.