Former Pakistani cricket stars disappointedDecember 18th, 2008 - 7:30 pm ICT by IANS
Karachi, Dec 18 (IANS) India’s decision to cancel their tour of Pakistan attracted mixed response from former Pakistani Test cricketers here Thursday.Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, now chief selector, said the cancellation of the series was a huge setback for cricket in the region.
Former Test players Basit Ali and Jalaluddin also expressed similar views, saying the decision has sent a wave of disappointment among cricket fans all over the world.
But former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has taken a more aggressive stance, saying that the decision was not unexpected and asked the Pakistani cricket authorities and players to break ties with India.
“We have been too apologetic in trying to save the series,” Latif told a television channel, reacting to Indian government’s decision to cancel the tour which was to begin Jan 4.
“The way the Indian government and their media have been acting after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan should have itself called off the series,” he said.
Latif urged Pakistani cricketers to break ties with lucrative Indian Twenty20 leagues as a show of solidarity.
“It is very important that our cricketers break ties with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL),” he said.
“The cricketers are our ambassadors and if they don’t react (to the series cancellation) and scrap their deals with the Indian leagues then who will act on our behalf,” he stressed.
Around 20 Pakistani cricketers are hired by the breakaway ICL while several top cricket stars like Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanveer are contracted to play in the IPL.
Legendary Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas agreed with Latif saying PCB should snap ties with India and should invite other leading teams for the sake of cricketers.
Qadir described the Pakistan-India series as bigger than the Ashes and said he is disappointed over the cancellation. “The whole world watches whenever Pakistan and India play against each other because the series is even bigger than the Ashes,” he said.