Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board on Saturday received flak from former cricketers and administrators for its sudden decision to lift the one-year ban on former captain Shoaib Malik.
Justice (retd) Irfan Qadir not only lifted the ban on Malik but also reduced the fine from two to one million rupees.
"I am disappointed at the way PCB has handled things. They imposed such strong penalties that are only enforced for serious offences and now after just two months they remove these penalties without giving a proper reason," former Test spinner and ex-chief selector Iqbal Qasim said.
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He said what was most surprising was that the Board lifted the ban on Malik against whom was laid the most serious charges of creating disharmony and groupings in the team.
"They are saying he (Malik) has improved himself and they monitored him. The question is who monitored him and when. For the last three months he has been busy with his marriage and abroad," Qasim said.
Former Test pacer Sarfaraz Nawaz said he didn't accept the neutrality of the appeal's judge in the first place.
"This is a person against whom the Chief Justice of Pakistan only this week made some serious remarks and held him responsible for being involved in the Bank of Punjab fraud scandal. How can he then be allowed to head this appeal's tribunal?" Sarfaraz asked.
He said when the judge's reputation itself was under question, the Board should have removed him.
"The Board chairman is running things as he wishes. There is no check on him and he has badly damaged Pakistan cricket and also destroyed careers of players in last two years," Sarfaraz claimed.
Former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia said he was simply flabbergasted by the decision to lift the ban on Malik.
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"I really don't know whether these people in the Board have lost their mind. It is a joke the way they are taking decisions. When they took the decision to penalise the players they should have known Pakistan had to play in the Asia Cup and go to England, why have a change of heart now?" he asked.
Tauqir said he couldn't imagine what sort of atmosphere would prevail in the team after today's decision.
"You only ban a player for one year and fine him heavily on serous charges, so you can't simply remove the ban and reduce the fine after only three months," he said.
Tauqir said if at all the Board had to remove the ban, it should have announced a general amnesty for all the seven players who have been either banned or fined.
"By removing Malik's ban, PCB has sent out wrong signals and only encouraged players to partake in more power struggles in future," he said.