Had it not been for help from late International Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya, fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s career could have ended in 2000-01, a former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has claimed.
In 1999, the ICC told the PCB Akhtar’s action was under scrutiny but Dalmiya supported the PCB’s stance, Lt. Gen. (retd.) Tauqir Zia said.
“Jagmohan, who had been president of the ICC and was an influential voice, supported us a lot in the Shoaib Akhtar bowling action case. He took a stand for us despite the ICC members insisting that Akhtar’s bowling action was illegal,” Tauqir said.
“But due to the stance taken by Dalmiya and myself the ICC eventually conceded that Akhtar had a medical flaw in his bowling arm since birth which gave him hyper elbow extension and he was allowed to play on,” he added.
Tauqir also said some players may have under-performed in the 2003 World Cup because of factionalism within the team at the time. He said on the GTV News Channel that he had asked then chief selector Wasim Bari to drop stalwarts like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Saeed Anwar from the team after the World Cup.
“After the World Cup I was very disappointed with the way the players had performed because it was the best possible side we could have picked for the World Cup,” Tauqir said.
“I was hearing about these groupings and differences within the team even before the tournament and I suspected some of them under-performed because of their conflicts,” he said.
Waqar captained Pakistan in that World Cup and throughout the event, there were reports about him not getting support from some players. “I had wanted to make Wasim captain for the World Cup but many people in the Board opposed this and even the ICC had its reservations because of the fixing inquiry reports,” he said.
The former chairman said he sat down with Bari after the World Cup. “I told him now is the time to free Pakistan cricket of Wasim, Waqar, Saeed and some others. We, then, made Rashid Latif the captain and asked him to build a new team,” he said.
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Tauqir pointed out the PCB had also dropped senior players such as Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq from the team so that a new outfit could be built. “I thought Rashid did a good job and for a while it appeared we were rebuilding the team, but circumstances led to other things,” he said.
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