Are lack of education and the idea of
making fast money hampering youngsters
in Pakistan cricket?
One has to agree that some of the boys
live with very basic amenities.
One of the boys who was caught in
match-fixing comes from a village near
Rawalpindi, where he lived in very basic
Suddenly this boy becomes rich, he has
two houses in Lahore, he is a glamour boy,
he comes on television and the gap
between rags to riches has been achieved.
So he is a product of this environment;
the environment of corruption!
Cricketers think that agar politicians
kar saktein hai, Prime Minister saab kar
saktein hai toh main kyun na karoon?
(If politicians can do it, the prime minister
can do it, then why can’t I?)
Salman Butt was one of the educated
ones who got into match-fixing...
Salman Butt was one of those who was
guilty of greed. Mohammad Aamir, perhaps, had to lose the most, as he was one
of the most promising fast bowlers in the
He comes from a very impoverished
background, and with the various perks
available with the game, he was bound to
fall for it.
There is corruption at every level, and
when you grow up in such an environment
these things are bound to happen.
There is lack of accountability in society.
Was Yousuf Youhana’s conversion to
You were critical of Inzamam-ul Haq’s
long prayer sessions and how Bob
Woolmer was uncomfortable with the fact
that there was not much time left for prac-
Yes, that was a problem, especially under
Inzamam. I knew that once he left the
scene, this trend would come to end.
Woolmer felt he wasn’t getting enough
time for practice, but at the same time he
could see it was keeping the team united.
By all means be religious, but do in your
own manner. This phase was very difficult.
Islam part of it?
Frankly speaking, I was very disappointed when he converted. Cricket is the one
biding force in Pakistan, so it was disappointing to see Youhana convert.
I used to tell Yousuf that you are excused
from morning practice, go and pray in
church. He would say thank you very
much and would come back for practice.
Four years later, I found that in South
Africa his enthusiasm had dipped and he
wasn’t keen on going to church.
When I asked him about it, he was very
vague. He is not from the Christian com-
munity, but is one of those Dalit converts.
Probably, he felt demeaned by fellow
I made sure that there was no pressure
So if Inzamam was doing this, why wasn’t
on the others. Like Danish Kaneria. I
There was pressure from Inzamam;
there is no doubt about it, but we are very
proud of a Hindu playing for Pakistan!
He wasn’t stopped. I told Woolmer not
to get into it. Being a Christian, it would
have become a communal issue.
I kept telling Inzy ‘Don’t do this,’ and he
said ‘Theek, theek hai (alright).’
After Inzamam the whole thing would
have to come to an end and it did come to
There was no point taking a course of
action because he was captain and a reli-
gious leader, and we suffered!
It was the price we had to pay.
The Oval Gate controversy left a scar on
That England tour was a forgettable one.
Player power was taking over, with
Inzamam instructing days of practice.
Unfortunately, the team backed him and
things began to go awry from there.
Things reached such a low that the team
refused to obey the instructions given by
either Woolmer, Zaheer Abbas or me.
During the tea break, I asked Inzy to
take the field; he didn’t, and we all know
Darrell Hair has never been a popular
Well, we suffered; that is all
I can say.
When the same Darrell
Hair no-balled Muttaiah
Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan
team protested and left the
field, but skipper Arjuna
Ranatunga had one foot on
the field and the other across
the boundary line, meaning
he hadn’t officially left the
So he knew the rules and
the umpire couldn’t forfeit the match.
After that incident, there was some
noise, and Hair wasn’t part of any Sri
Lanka series for eight years. Rightly so,
because he had some hang-ups regarding
the Sri Lankan team.
What happened with us?
In three years, Hair officiated in five of
our series. It was bound to blow up in our
I told the ICC (the International Cricket
Council) that give us an Indian umpire,
They didn’t listen and we ended up pay-
ing the price.
It has been five years since the Sri
Lankan team was attacked in Lahore.
Since then Pakistan has had no cricket on
its soil. Do you see cricket returning to
Terrorism has dented Pakistan badly.
Earlier, the feeling was that Pakistan was
discriminated. Foreign teams were not
ready to come and play. Australia,
Then this terrorist attack happened and
that silenced most of them (the people
who felt Pakistan was being discriminated
Who would come and play here when,
perhaps, the friendliest of nations like Sri
Lanka is being fired upon?
But it has been good for five years and
we have been playing at alternative venues.
We do hope that cricket returns to
How realistic are you about resuming
cricketing ties with India?
We are keen to start the bilateral series.
Although India has not come to us, we are
ready to come to India. Whenever there is
a gap or window, we are more than happy
to come to India and play a five ODI
If an India series can be arranged,
Pakistan will go, even if it means an out-
We need to start the series. Even the ICC
says the India-Pakistan series is more
important than the Ashes!
Pakistan cricket, as never been revealed before!
the first Test
between India and
Pakistan in Multan
March 28, 2004.
Inzamam ul-Haq, second from left, prays with
his team mates before net practice during a
series against England August 27, 2006, in
Although India has not come to us, we are ready to
come to India. If an India series can be arranged, Pakistan will go,
even if it means an out-of-turn tour.
We need to start the series. Even the ICC says the India-Pakistan
series is more important than the Ashes.