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May 16, 2011

PCB urged to act over Akram Raza’s arrest


May 16, 2011


KARACHI: Pakistan cricket has once again come under a cloud of suspicion after former Test off-spinner Akram Raza was arrested for allegedly betting on the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) matches on Saturday night.
Haris Khan, one of Pakistan’s most qualified coaches and former first-class player, said that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should immediately take over the case.
“Raza’s arrest and his involvement in betting is a sensitive issue, which PCB should immediately deal with before International Cricket Council (ICC) steps in,” he said.
The PCB, last year, failed to handle the infamous ‘spot-fixing’ as board officials remained away from the scene for almost three weeks after the controversy before the International Cricket Council (ICC) intervened.
“This incident has brought a bad name for the country. Its better that the board itself sets up an inquiry team to probe Raza, as they might explore several other things,” Khan added.
Raza was fined by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) eleven years ago by for his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal.
As per the Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum Report in 2000, Raza was a part of a group of players in the team led by Salim Malik who lost matches for money.
In spite of such a background, Raza was appointed by the board and is currently on elite panel of umpires of the PCB. When a relevant authority of the board was contacted over the issue, he said that nothing has been proved in spite of Raza being arrested red-handed with money, mobiles and laptops.
“Nothing has been proved against him yet so we can not say anything about his position in the board,” an official told ‘The News’ on the condition of anonymity. “If he gets charged, then his fate will be decided.”
Raza’s induction into the PCB Umpire’s panel four years ago had raised several eyebrows with a number of former players, umpires and referees having their reservations.
“It was known to

all that Raza has been taking bribes and yet he was appointed, which was really surprising,” a top international umpire of the country said. “What happened last night was bound to happen.”
The leading umpires complained that some of the top PCB officials supported him out of way to help him climb the success ladder quickly; leaving senior umpires out in the cold.
“He was promoted over other senior umpires, just because he was a Test player and had a strong lobby, as two of the most influential position holders in the board are his cliques.
“The board officials even named him for a final of a domestic tournament replacing another umpire.”
Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ that Raza was one of the seven umpires of Pakistan, who were recently interviewed for ICC international panel of umpires.
And for Pakistan’s former wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, it is a sign that the government is doing a good job to curb corruption in the game.
“All praise for the Pakistan government, which has stepped up the work rate to curb corruption from cricket and there are many people who are involved in fixing or betting and they will get exposed with the passage of time,” the runaway wicketkeeper, who recently came back to the country told ‘The News’.
Haider added that the fixing is not just limited to international matches, as the umpires in domestic matches have played there in various ways.
“The phenomenon of fixing is present in our domestic cricket as well. Every one knows that down the years, umpires have played their part in turning matches on their heads; while making or breaking careers,” he added.




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