KARACHI: Pakistan cricket was in tatters when Naveed Akram Cheema came to manage the national team in the aftermath of the 2010 spot-fixing controversy. The situation has improved for Pakistan cricketers – deemed prone to controversies – since then, as they have avoided a repeat of the debacle.
The country will be under a new manager, former captain Moin Khan, for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe as Cheema, a bureaucrat, parted ways with the team after a shuffle in his government jobs. He was transferred as secretary of Federal Ministry of Housing and Planning from Wapda.
Cheema had earlier replaced Yawar Saeed under whom the spot-fixing case had ignited, involving the then captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
“It was very tense,” the former manager recalled while speaking to The Express Tribune. “Pakistan cricket was in a real crisis then and there was not much to cherish.”
However, the outgoing manager stated that things had changed drastically since that period.
“That spot-fixing case was a lesson well learnt by our cricketers. They realised the mistakes of their teammates and are well aware of the menace now.
“With my experience as manager, I am hopeful that all the players are poised to fight the spectre of match-fixing and I hope it will never return to our circle,” said Cheema, who instantly rubbished a report claiming foul-play during the recent One-Day International series between Pakistan and West Indies.
The former manager added that it was an honour to have held this position with a team of ‘highly qualified professionals cherished by millions of fans’.
“It was a unique experience. I never compromised on discipline and I am delighted that there were no controversies during my term.”
Moin looks to carry on momentum
New manager Moin said he would take the responsibility of the role as a challenge.
“I will try my best to do the job in a befitting manner,” said Moin. “Most of the players know me and I hope to be successful in the role.”
However, he warned that there would be no compromise on discipline, and said its implementation would be his top priority.
Sethi announces cash rewards for national squads
The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Caretaker Chairman Najam Sethi approved cash rewards for men’s and women’s squads for their performances in the West Indies and the UK respectively.
The entire Pakistan ODI and Twenty20 squad was awarded Rs200,000 each, while the support staff each received Rs 100,000. Misbahul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Zulfiqar Babar and Umar Akmal will get additional rewards of Rs400,000 each for their outstanding performances in the series.
The Pakistan women’s squad was awarded Rs100,000 each while team officials were awarded Rs50,000 each.
“The PCB management is positive that the cash rewards and recognition shall inspire both teams to keep building on their success,” said Sethi.