During the 1990s, Pakistan cricket was rocked to the core when former wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif and batsman Basit Ali announced their premature retirement alleging that a plethora of their teammates were involved in match-fixing.
Over the course of the next few years, the likes of Saleem Malik, Ata-Ur-Rahmam were handed life-bans while several others including legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram was banned from captaning Pakistan again after Justice Qayyum filed his report for the inquiry.
But the ghost of match-fixing continues to haunt Pakistan cricket and former captain-turned commentator Rameez Raja believes that the prime reason behind it is the inability of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in taking action against the tainted players and allowing them to come back into the set-up.
Raja said if he had the authority, he would have never allowed the tainted players to come back into the set-up and would have had them open ‘grocery stores’
“You ask me I would say these tainted cricketers should open their grocery shops,” Rameez Raja said as quoted by India Today.
Rameez Raja has always been a staunch critic of the Pakistan Cricket Board for its soft stance against tainted players
He was one of the few voices in Pakistan who had expressed his displeasure when fast bowler Mohammad Amir was allowed to come back into the set-up after he’d served a hefty jail term owing to his involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, alongside Mohammad Asid and Salman Butt.
Raja feels that giving concessions to big names like Mohammad Amir have damaged Pakistan cricket big time.
Raja added :”I have no doubt that giving concessions to big names also damaged Pakistan cricket,”
Rameez Raja’s comments come after there have once again been talks of integrating another tainted player back into the set-up. Sharjeel Khan was banned by the PCB back in 2017 for his involvement in the PSL spot-fixing scandal but the southpaw was given amnesty last year. Raja believes that it is the inability of the Pakistan selectors to find an ideal replacement of these tainted cricket that leads to them going back to the likes of Sharjeel and Amir.
“There is once again talks of redrafting Sharjeel Khan into the team which is not right and can damage Pakistan cricket,” he said.
Sharjeel Khan recently played for the Karachi Kings alongside Pakistan T20I skipper Babar Azam.