Pakistan news April 26, 2011

PCB asks ICC to 'investigate' Sutherland comments

ESPNcricinfo staff

The PCB has taken umbrage at remarks made by Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland about the Justice Qayyum commission on matchfixing and asked the ICC to "investigate" the comments.

In a recent story on corruption in cricket in the Age, Sutherland said that the spot-fixing scandal of last summer, after which three Pakistani players were banned for five years, might not have happened had the PCB acted properly in the aftermath of the Qayyum commission, whose recommendations were released in 2000.

''Ask yourself whether Pakistan Cricket Board actually went through and implemented those recommendations," Sutherland said. "Well, I can't say for sure but I would have big question marks about whether those things would have happened last year if those recommendations had been fully implemented,'' said Sutherland.

The statement has irked current and former officials in Pakistan alike. "We felt it was totally unnecessary to make the remarks," a senior board official told ESPNcricinfo. "We have sent a letter to the ICC asking them to investigate his statement and come back to us. We have implemented that report in toto and are disappointed that it is being brought up again now when the PCB has done so much to fight corruption and set things right. It was not needed."

Much the same line was taken by Tauqir Zia, the board chairman at the time of the Qayyum commission. "James Sutherland should not give any irresponsible statement in the press as one of the key officials of Cricket Australia," Zia told Dawn. "And as far as the matter is concerned, I believe I took all the measures to ensure 100 per cent implementation of all the recommendations of Justice Qayyum."

Sutherland's comments are not new and as a CA spokesman confirmed, have "been his position in public discussion for a long while." In fact, that position appears to be the same one taken by Qayyum himself. Immediately after the spot-fixing scandal emerged last August, Qayyum said the PCB had not been "strong enough" in implementing some recommendations in his report. Incidentally, in 2006, Qayyum had also admitted to ESPNcricinfo that he had been lenient on some of the players because he had a "soft corner" for them.

In the report, a number of recommendations were made. The main ones involved banning for life players such as Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman, and fining a host of others, including Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saeed Anwar. Some of these players, such as Akram, were prevented from holding any positions of responsibility in or around the team, as was Mushtaq. The legspinner was an assistant coach of the Pakistan side in 2006-07 when Bob Woolmer was coach and Inzamam the captain, against the recommendations of the report. He is now on the coaching staff of the ECB, with the England team.

One of the key recommendations Qayyum complained was not fully implemented was having players declare all their assets publicly at the start of their career and then do so annually thereafter. One board official admitted that this "hadn't been followed up on in the years after the report" but it had been done since and that, in any case, "it is difficult to make a case of corruption purely from assets coming into an account."

In all, nearly 30 recommendations, some specific to the cases then but a number of longer-term ones as well, were made by the commission which is the report itself], including calls for a tighter code of conduct on players and that an independently-headed Review committee be set up to investigate all cases of possible corruption in the future.

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