Match-fixing investigations April 21, 2000

Javed Akhtar contemplating legal action

Imtiaz Sipra

Javed Akhtar, Pakistan's former Test player, and a former ICC Panel Umpire, is contemplating legal action against recent articles in the Australian press that have cast aspersions on his integrity. In an exclusive conversation, Javed Akhtar, who made his Test debut for Pakistan against England in 1962 and his Test umpiring debut in 1980, categorically stated he 'was in consultation with his legal advisor and will follow his solicitor's suggestions".

Javed Akhtar, who was Pakistan's nominee to the ICC Panel of Umpires in 1998-99, and officiated matches at Johannesburg and Leeds in 1998, termed the allegations as 'absurd, rubbish and totally devoid of truth'. 'Never ever in my umpiring career, financial or other temptations have affected my decisions" went on to state a somewhat agitated Javed Akhtar. He did concede a decision or two was not taken well by the affected team, but "it was more due a human error then anything else".

The former Pakistan off-spinner, who played 1st class cricket between 1959-1971 before donning the umpiring whites, added emphatically that never once was any dissatisfaction conveyed by the rival captains or others involved in his supervised matches; and his 19 years stint as a Test and ODI umpire was an endorsement of his acceptance as an umpire of substance and integrity. Javed officiated in 19 home Test matches and stood in the middle 49 times in the limited overs version.

On being asked if he had ever been offered any financial or other incentive, Javed not only denied it but suggested his life style and bank balance could be examined to determine his honesty and his being above-board in cricketing interactions. To another question, Javed stated that it is well nigh impossible to term any match as being absolutely clean, umpiring wise, as no team whole heartedly accepts a borderline decision. He referred to Mervyn Kitchen (England) coming under unwarranted lambasting by the losing side and the media over his umpiring in South Africa in 1998.

On another question as to why this unwarranted heart-burn takes place, Javed said that "this so happens because each and every team hates to lose". He wanted cricket followers to recall those matches where Constant and Palmer, both English umpires were objected to by Pakistan teams touring England. "Yes, the English err too" stated Javed and noted the Gooch reprieve in Pakistan's 1992 tour where photographs showed the England captain short of his crease by yards and yet was declared 'not out' by the local English umpire.

Javed Akhtar, now in retirement due failing health, has also authored a book titled 'Laws of Cricket' in Urdu in 1985-86, well received by the locals, generally poor in English.

Reliable sources close to PCB have disclosed that Yawar Saeed, Member PCB advisory board, has indicated that the PCB will present their response to these allegations in the scheduled ICC meeting in the first week of May, 2000.