x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mani calls for revamping of Pakistan cricket

Former ICC president decries 'terrible drama' for the game and says it has done 'lot of harm' as he joins the criticism of board president Butt.

Ehsan Mani, the former International Cricket Council (ICC) president has called for the structure of Pakistan cricket to be revamped and joined those criticising the recent conduct of Ijaz Butt. Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, claimed on Sunday that there was talk in the bookmaking fraternity that some England players had "taken enormous amounts of money" to fix the third one-day international at The Oval on Friday - although he has since admitted he has no proof.

Pakistan-born Mani believes Butt's comments have done great harm to the game and believes now is the time for a restructuring of Pakistan cricket. He told BBC Radio Five Live yesterday: "It has been a terrible drama for cricket. "What Mr Butt said was totally uncalled for, unsubstantiated and he has done a lot of harm for relationships between England and Pakistan, and Pakistan and the ICC. It is a strange appointment, he [Butt] is there at the pleasure of the patron of the PCB, who is the president of the country, and is only answerable to him.

"I have been saying for a while that the whole government structure of Pakistan cricket needs some serious revamping." As for the allegations themselves, Mani added: "Mr Butt needs to come up with evidence of proof to back up what he said. "Pakistan cricket has very few friends and he is very good at losing them, as he has with England." And while critics have claimed the ICC should have acted quicker, Mani is confident they have done everything possible after charging Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammed Asif under their anti-corruption code following allegations that no-balls were deliberately bowled in a spot-fixing scam in the fourth Test at Lord's.

Mani, appointed as the PCB's representative to the ICC in 1989, said: "The game must go on, the ICC did what the PCB should have done ... as soon as the three players came out ... and suspend the players straight away. It doesn't matter whether they are guilty or not, that will come out in due course. "For the good of the game the PCB should have taken the lead, they failed to do that and the ICC did the only thing they could do and that was suspend the players."

Shaharyar Khan, the former PCB chief, said that Butt took a "wrong step" and he should not be making such damaging allegations. "The new comments of Butt is damaging for Pakistan cricket but I hope it will not damage our relationship with ICC," Khan said. He said the other full members of the ICC like India and Australia do not take Butt's statements seriously. Meanwhile, the former girlfriend of Pakistan's suspended fast bowler Asif was reported in British media yesterday as saying she received death threats soon after meeting ICC officials to discuss match fixing.

Veena Malik, an actress, told TheSun newspaper that she received an e-mail saying "don't talk to the media, keep your mouth shut ... I'll kill you, watch what I do". Officials of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit met Ms Malik earlier this month after she went public with allegations about Asif's activities. The actress's allegations came amid a broadening corruption scandal enveloping Pakistan's ongoing tour of England.

She claimed Asif was in contact with someone in India to fix betting markets. "They were offering Asif £25,000 (Dh142,607) to play badly but he said he needed £128,000," she said. "It was a couple of weeks before Pakistan's tour of Australia." * Agencies