Pak~~s banned Malik hopeful after Azhar~~s case

Published: Friday, October 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Former Pakistan captain Salim Malik said India's decision to pardon disgraced star Mohammad Azharuddin has raised his hopes of overturning his own life ban for match-fixing.

Indian cricket authorities said Thursday they planned to resurrect Azharuddin from a life of shame despite objections from sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council.

"I can't tell you how happy I was on learning that Azhar's ban will be lifted soon. It's a ray of hope for me that I should get a similar reprieve from Pakistan," Malik told AFP on Friday.

"My pleas have fallen on deaf ears, nobody wants to listen to my requests. It has been just like six years of imprisonment for me."

The stylish 43-year-old batsman currently lives a secluded life in the eastern city of Lahore and is still waiting for the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal against his ban.

Pakistan banned Malik for life in 2000 following a judicial inquiry into match-fixing allegations that resulted from allegations by Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh.

Warne and May alleged Malik offered them money to underperform in a Test in Karachi in 1994, while Waugh said Malik asked him to bat poorly in a one-day match during the same tour.

Malik was also accused of wrongdoing by team-mates and his name was mentioned in India's inquiry into Azharuddin.

The ban ended Malik's impressive 19-year career during which he scored 5,768 runs in 103 Tests and 7,170 in 263 one-day internationals. He also led Pakistan in 12 Tests and 34 one-day matches.

Malik said he would put his case before the newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf and operations director Salim Altaf.

"I know the new chairman is an educated person and like the Indian board officials would listen to my request and take the same stance as India," said Malik.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who allowed Azharuddin to tour Pakistan with a veterans team this year, said the master batsman deserved to be pardoned.

"The general opinion is that Azharuddin had undergone enough punishment and he should be allowed to lead a life like cricketers who had faced similar charges in other countries but are going about as if they had done no wrong," BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said on Thursday.

The BCCI has also invited Azharuddin to a function in Mumbai on Nov 4 to honour him and other Indian captains for their services to the game, a move which has irked the ICC.

Azharuddin was investigated and found guilty in 2000 by the BCCI of match fixing which led to his original ban from the game.

Malik said his main goal is to clear his name and then he wants to form an academy for youngsters in this cricket-loving South Asian nation.

"If I am cleared I will never be interested in holding any post in Pakistan cricket," he said.

"My only interest is to start an academy for kids and for that I have acquired land as well. But nobody has allowed me to start it."


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