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Karachi, May 14: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) sacked its four frontline cricketers, including one after awarding him a letter of appreciation for his performance in the 1999-2000 domestic season.
The contracts of Test cricketers Azhar Mahmood and Abdur Razzaq were terminated because the former allegedly refused to play in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy final (won by PIA inside two days), while the latter failed to submit the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from his previous employers.
Mahmood Hamid, who played a one-day international for Pakistan in 1995, was not retained after his missed the entire 1999-2000 season because of a knee injury.
However, the contract of Sohail Jaffar, who was the top scorer in the 1995-96 season, was ended as the officials claimed his performance in the just concluded season remained below par.
Interestingly, Sohail was awarded a letter of appreciation from the sports department a week before the decision to terminate him was taken.
On April 3, the sports division issued him a letter acknowledging his performance in the Quaid Trophy in which he averaged 51.22 from 11 matches.
"This is to certify that Sohail Jaffar played 11 matches for PIA in this season (1999-2000) and performed outstandingly," the document, signed by manager of the cricket team, says.
Nevertheless, the top hierarchy thought it otherwise and, in a meeting held on April 10, issued directives to the sports department to release Sohail.
"Reference meeting of the Managing Director-PIAC, held at the Sports Division on April 10, 2000 and, his directive to terminate contracts of Mahmood Hamid and Sohail Jaffar, as their performance have not been upto the mark," the minutes of April 10 meeting says.