Fixing scape goat Malik to open cricket academy

Published: Monday, June 7, 2004, 17:23 [IST]
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Islamabad:Disgraced former Pakistan cricket captain Salim Malik, sidelined from the sport by a lifetime ban for match-fixing, plans to open a private coaching centre for young players later this year.

Malik, who was banned for life from any involvement in cricket four years ago for his part in a scandal that rocked the international game, said he had already found a site for his academy in Lahore.

"I want to start a new career as coach because everyone I meet asks me why I don't start coaching the budding players and I would want the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to avail my services," said Malik.

"I have selected the site in Lahore and hopefully will start coaching later this year because I realise my duty as a former player to overcome the shortage of good batsmen in the country," he said.

Since being banned over match-fixing allegations in May 2000, the 41-year-old has led a secluded life but follows international cricket with keen interest.

"I have not played since the ban but follow cricket with the same interest of my playing days."

His life ban from playing cricket at all levels and from holding any post came after Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh alleged Malik offered them money to underperform during a Test in Karachi in 1994.

The PCB conducted an inquiry in 1995 which absolved Malik of any wrongdoings after the Australian trio refused to substantiate their allegations.

However, Malik's name was mentioned in a match-fixing report by the Central Bureau of Investigation in India (CBI) which was released in 2000.

Another match-fixing inquiry conducted by Lahore high court judge Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum from September 1998 to October 1999 found enough evidence against him to recommend a life ban.

But Malik insisted he was not given any chance to prove his innocence.

Since then Malik's initial appeal was rejected by Lahore high court in May 2002 while another one is still pending in the Supreme court.

"My whole career was destroyed by the one-sided ban because nothing was proved against me and I was cleared by the first inquiry conducted in 1995," said Malik.

"It's a universal law that you are innocent until proven guilty and I have been desperate to clear my name for the sake of a clean image and to transfer my knowledge to youngsters," said Malik, one of three captains handed life bans along with India's Mohammed Azharuddin and South Africa's Hansie Cronje.

Malik cited the example of Cronje who despite confessing to fixing was given a chance by the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) to clean his image through coaching in African townships before his death in a plane crash in June 2002.

"Why can't our Board give me a chance to clear my image like that given to Cronje. I am also keen on coaching in regional and national academies in Pakistan," he said.

The former middle order batsman from Lahore played 103 Tests for Pakistan scoring 5,768 runs and in 283 One-day Internationals accumulated 7,170 runs.

He also led Pakistan in 12 Tests and 34 One-day matches.

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