Nasir deals a body blow

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Friday, July 7, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Pakistan cricket team manager picked the most inopportune moment to spit anti-India venom the other day at Colombo. By doing so, Brigadier (retd.) Mohammed Nasir, dealt a body blow to the cause of Asian cricket as well as bilateral relations with India.

The needless diatribe against India came just when the much-desired Asian unity to challenge the new white-dominated International Cricket Council regime, was being fostered in all earnestness.

It is worth repeating what he had said at a pre-tournament press conference, when a question on the raging betting and match-fixing controversy was asked of him by an Indian correspondent.

"You should do something about this Indian gamblers and their agents, who are responsible for bringing disrepute to the noble game," he said.

"Everyone is blaming former South African captain Hansie Cronje for what happened, but the root cause is the Indian bookies. You take them out and the problem will be solved," he added.

"Cronje had told the King Commission that Indian bookies had offered him money to influence matches. Hansie is at least honest and admitted what had happened, but what steps are being taken by you to see that the Indian bookies are stopped from operating," Nasir stated.

"This is a total disgrace to the game and it is being done by the Indians."

Pakistan is so weak as a nation that it invariably allows either fundamentalist or military to take over the country, the latter more often. Whenever the military is in power, the regime, which is so suspicious of the civilians, believes that everything should be under army control, including sports.

The chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is a retired general. Then whenever the teams are sent out, a former army man has to be the manager.

What Brigadier Nasir spoke was not the language of a normal cricket official, but of a puppet whose strings are in the hands of the General, who is running the country at present.

Now let us take the Pakistan team manager on his pronouncements, which purports to equate Indian cricket administrators with bookmakers, match-fixers and gamblers.

Before going further on this vituperative onslaught launched by him on India, I have a suspicion whether he has not borrowed that expression from one of his own countryman.

When Intikhab Alam relinquished his post as the cricket manager, he said in great disgust "Pakistan is a nation of gamblers."

Intikhab is one of those who believes that several of his players were involved in big betting and also in match-fixing. He should know because he has virtually lived with the players day in and day out for long periods and he has been Pakistan's longest-serving manager.

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