Special vigilance team to monitor Pak cricketers during foreign tours

Lahore: Nov 6, 2011

Pakistani cricketers will be monitored by a special vigilance team of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in future when they are on foreign tours so that there is no repeat of the spot-fixing scandal.

The chairman of the board Zaka Ashraf told the media while visiting his hometown Bahawalpur that the PCB would now be taking more steps to prevent a repeat of the spot-fixing scandal that has badly damaged the image of Pakistan cricket.

“We have decided that on future foreign tours a special vigilance team will accompany the touring squad and keep a close watch on activities of the players and officials,” Ashraf said.

“We have been sending a security officer with the team since last year but we need to expand and improve our methods of monitoring the activities of the players,” he added.

The PCB chief admitted that although some players might not like this idea but after the spot-fixing scandal the board had left with no choice left but to take such preventive measures.

“Our image was hit badly by the spot-fixing scandal and trial and we now need to take lot of steps to repair it.”

Ashraf also disclosed that the board would be arranging for sports psychologists to have counselling sessions with the players.

“We will have counselling sessions supervised by prominent sports psychologists and educationists for the players who need to be aware of their responsibilities as ambassadors of the country and how they need to conduct themselves and how to keep away from corrupt elements in the game,” he explained.

The new PCB chief has stepped in at a time when Pakistan cricket is still reeling from the spot-fixing scandal that first broke out in England last year in September.

A British crown court on Thursday handed over different jail sentences to Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer for their involvement in corruption and trying to spot-fix some parts of the series against England.

The players have already began their jail terms.

Ashraf said while he was very disappointed and sad at the recent turn of events involving the three players but he had no sympathy for them at all.

“Whatever you do, you reap in life and these players acted negligently and without thinking about the image of Pakistan cricket and their countrymen. They got the punishment they deserved for their actions,” he said.

Ashraf said while his responsibility is mainly to improve the Pakistan cricket management structure, his priority was to repair the damaged image of Pakistan cricket.

“The team is performing well and we have good players but for the future we also need to work on improving our damaged image at home and abroad,” he said.

Since 1994, Pakistan cricket has been haunted by allegations and suspicions of players being involved in fixing and in 2000 an independent judicial commission headed by Justice Malik Qayyum had after an 18-month inquiry banned former captain Salim Malik for life and fined five other players. (PTI)