Bedi defends PCB against Aussie criticism

LAHORE - Former Indian spinner Bishen Singh Bedi on Saturday lashed out at the “holier-than-thou” attitude of the western cricket boards while coming to the rescue of the Pakistan cricket Board over spot-fixing allegations. Bedi on Saturday reacted strongly to a statement by Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland who recently said that PCB could have avoided the spot-fixing scandal in Britain if it had implemented the recommendations of the Qayyum report into corruption in the 1990s.

“I would have big question marks about whether those things would have happened last year if those recommendations had been fully implemented,” The Age newspaper quoted Sutherland, as saying. However, Bedi felt that Sutherland’s statement was uncalled for and it was time Pakistan, India and other Asian boards formed a common front against such statements. “I think it is time there was a common front against such things. Australia, England and other western boards have to realize that they cannot make such statements and maintain their holier than thou attitude,” Bedi told PTI.

Bedi pointed out that Pakistan and India had carried out proper inquiries into fixing allegations and also taken action against some of its leading players. “We banned and fined some of our finest players,” he said. Bedi recalled the 1994-95 incident where an Indian bookmaker had allegedly given money to Australian cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, in return for pitch and weather information.

Bedi said it was by chance that the story about Warne and Mark leaked out as cricket Australia didn’t publicise it. “They then fined their players like Warne. But these boards must realise that if Warne was a important player for them, so was Salim Malik for Pakistan or Mohammad Azhaurddin for India,” he said. He also felt that Pakistan had implemented the recommendations of the Qayyum report.