Dhaka: He was named the "bad boy" of Pakistan cricket for not co-operating with the Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyam. But, Asif Iqbal has been a successful cricket entrepreneur with his "side show" at Sharjah.
"What worries me is that match-fixing in cricket, as the allegations suggest, is a truly global phenomenon," Asif Iqbal said in a free-wheeling interview. The following is an excerpt of the interview.
What is the future of International cricket in the wake of the match-fixing scandals in several countries?
The game is bigger than the scandals and I am sure it will survive the scandals. As an administrator, I am worried about the handling of the entire thing, which appears to be a widespread phenomenon and not just restricted to Asia as is being made out to be in certain quarters.
Why is it that only India and Pakistan are being targeted?
That is what beats me. South Africa, England, Australia have all been affected, yet no one seems to be bothered about it there. Instead, accusing fingers are only being pointed towards the Asian nations.
But the Sri Lankans haven't been accused of any wrong-doing?
True, and thank God for that. But what worries me is that match-fixing in cricket, as the allegations suggest, is a truly global phenomenon.
Remember, some of the Australian players were allegedly approached by an Indian bookie in Sri Lanka. Even Manoj Prabhakar's allegation against Kapil Dev centers around an Indo-Pak game in Sri Lanka. If these allegations have any substance, a sustained effort is required to clean up the game.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has now come up with a proposal of a Code of Conduct Commission, which will supervise the game worldwide.
Do you think there is a move to divert the attention away from the other nations by pointing fingers at India and Pakistan?
It seems so. The ICC called a meeting on May 2 and 3 in London to discuss the match-fixing issue in the wake of the Cronje scandal. But what we saw instead was administrators being asked to give signed statements saying they were not corrupt. The Cronje issue was put in the back-burner.
Dr Ali Bacher was the first to point a finger towards the sub-continent...
He subsequently denied it saying he was misquoted and promised to come out with a statement at the ICC meeting. He never made one.
Do you smell a conspiracy?
I have no doubt in my mind that some of the other Test-playing nations are trying to discredit Asian cricket. It is being implied that nothing is clean about cricket in the sub-continent.
I wonder how much it has got to do with the cricketing success of the sub-continent (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka winning the World Cup) along with the accepted fact that it also has marketing and financial centres.