March 25, 2010

Pakistan cricket

Dasti bites the dust

Osman Samiuddin

The scourge of Pakistan's cricketers, a self-styled moral crusader and head of the national assembly's standing committee on sports Jamshed Dasti has been forced to resign from his seat...after allegations that his MA degree in Islamic Studies was fake.

Dasti stepped down after being given little option by a six-judge bench of the Supreme Court who were looking into the case filed against his certificate in religious education. Geo News reported that Dasti could not answer a volley of basic questions about Islam or even his education hurled at him by the judges. The judges ultimately gave him the option to either be sacked or step down himself and he chose the latter.

The news - and the nature of it - is sure to bring a smile to the faces of many in the cricket establishment, including PCB officials and players such as Younis Khan. Dasti shot to a dubious infamy after he alleged, in the aftermath of Pakistan's semi-final loss in the Champions Trophy, that the side had fixed matches. He summoned Younis to a hearing in the national assembly, where Younis resigned in protest at the treatment. Dasti was widely lambasted for having instigated the chain of events.

Undeterred by the criticism, he continued his campaign to sort out the PCB, regularly calling top officials including chairman Ijaz Butt to hearings and grilling them over any number of issues, from board finances, to selection, to results on the field. With uncertainty over whether he is allowed to stand for elections again, it is unlikely he will be meddling in the country's cricket affairs anytime soon.

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Osman Samiuddin is the former Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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