Former Test batsman to go on hunger strike
Mohammad Ilyas, former Test batsman and father-in-law of discarded Test opener Imran Farhat, will observe a hunger strike in front of Parliament Square in Islamabad to protest the ban on him entering the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. According to Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief executive, the ban was imposed on Ilyas after he allegedly threatened the national selectors.
Addressing a news conference, Ilyas said that he was being penalised for criticising the PCB's policies and that it was painful to hear that he was banned from a stadium where he had played cricket decades before.
"When I called Naghmi to know the reasons for this punishment, he declined to give any reason just saying that I cannot enter the stadium," he said. "I tried to advise him that the stadium belongs to the Test cricketers but he [Naghmi] kept insisting that it was the property of the PCB and Test cricketers have no right to it."
After what started off as a protest against Farhat being overlooked for the Abu Dhabi tour, Ilyas turned his attention to the undemocratic attitude of the PCB. "If Farhat performs and he is not selected again, then I will also stage a protest on that issue," he said. "The war is on with PCB and I will fight it for the sake of dignity and self-esteem of a former Test cricketer."
When asked about the harsh words he had used against the selectors, Ilyas said that both chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed and Shafqat Rana were his old friends, and that what he had said was in the heat of the moment. "I just used those words in the heat of the moment against my friends without any bad intention," he said. "I have, in fact, forgotten the incident."