Thatscricket - News - Zaheer wants betting to be legalised

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2001, 22:40 [IST]
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Dubai: Former Pakistan skipper Zaheer Abbas wants betting to be legalised and feels sorry that cricketing ties between India and his country are "frozen".While terming match-fixing as betrayal of a nation, Zaheer, however, added that "betting is legal in so many countries, why can't it be legalised in Asia."The bespectacled Pakistani, who had a penchant for hitting double hundreds especially against India, told 'Gulf News', "It is a shame if a player indulges in match-fixing."About Indo-Pak cricketing ties, Zaheer said, "The concerned authorities should keep politics out of sports. We should keep the game healthy." He would like to see players from India and Pakistan fighting it out in a cricket field, be it in Sharjah, India, Pakistan or anywhere else.Returning to the match-fixing affair, Zaheer was critical of the manner in which the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) handled the Mark Waugh issue.Even as he rated Mark as one of the best batsmen in the world, the former Pakistani cricketer said, "I think Mark's initial refusal to cooperate with the ICC (International Cricket Council) inquiry should have been dealt with sternly by the ACB.' Mark's refusal sent out signals that the ICC was not a strong body. "Taking a cue from Mark Waugh, the other players could also refuse to comply with the ICC's request to investigate them."Zaheer, who represents the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on the ICC technical committee, also justified the Pakistani Board's decision to deduct fine from players' fees in the match-fixing affair. "It was in black and white, recommended by Justice (Malik Mohammed) Qayyum, hence the PCB was justified in deducting the fines directly."Justice Qayyum had investigated match-fixing in Pakistan and submitted his report to the government early last year.On the appointment of former English captain Geoffrey Boycott by Pakistan for coaching young cricketers at an astronomical fee, Zaheer said it was the Board's prerogative. He noted that this was the first time an experiment of bringing a foreigner had been undertaken and said, "Let's see how it works."On the criticism by some former Pakistani cricketers of Boycott being offered the job by the Pakistani Board, Zaheer said, "There are people who are against this move but the Board officials must have given a long thought before deciding, they must be having some idea."On the frequent changes in the Pakistani team, Zaheer felt that youngsters like Imran Nazir should be given a longer run to prove their mettle. "We are doing too many experiments with the youngsters rather than instilling confidence in them."He also felt that there was no better person than Wasim Akram to lead Pakistan. "It is the Board's decision not to appoint him as captain but I think he is the best at the moment." UNI

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