In his recent blog for pakpassion.net, Sohail writes: “The Indo-Pak series now appears to be a lost cause but really, we should be putting questions about the fate of this series to the people who went out of their way to lend their unconditional support to the Big 3.
“We were then told that Pakistan was assured of many series with India as if this was the price of our support.
“We were also told that PCB would be rich by a few billion dollars. These were tall claims made by people who now run the board.
“These people should be asked some serious questions about what’s happened to those claims now or was that simply an attempt to fool the Pakistani fans?”
The stylish left-hand batsman, who featured for Pakistan in 47 Tests and 156 one-day internationals, has also clarified his stance that he had “no qualms” over Pakistan playing India, but criticised the board members for what he believes to be their over-emphasis on the “money element” in the series.
“Make no mistake, I have no qualms about playing India — if the series happens then that would be fine but there is one important question here: we have played India a few times in the past and undoubtedly earned money but what has the game of cricket in Pakistan gained from these funds?” he asks, adding: “Was it beneficial for first-class cricket in Pakistan or was the game of cricket improved at the grassroots level? What makes us think that new monies from more series against India will be used any differently?”
Asif, Butt deserve same treatment as Amir
Sohail, best known among the people for his blunt and harsh criticism, is in agreement with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to allow the trio’s availability on the international front from Sept 2.
“It would have been grossly unfair for the ICC to give any preferential treatment to Mohammad Amir instead or at the expense of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif. In that respect, the ICC has taken the right decision,” he says.
The left-hander, who captained Pakistan at the height of a match-fixing controversy back in the 1990s and who was also among one of its whistle-blowers, also takes note of the board’s extraordinary support for Amir.
“It is quite clear that PCB have been taken aback by the ICC allowing all three players back into the fold at the same time. There is a story behind the PCB favouring Amir’s early return to cricket but, unfortunately, I cannot elaborate on that at the moment but people are free to read between the lines,” he says.
Sohail, 48, was all up for the spot-fixing-tainted trio to make a comeback in the national side — but on the basis of their present and future performances, and not of their past.
“I am quite clear on this issue. It is simply a case of cricket being bread and butter for the three players. That is how they earn their living and yes, they made a mistake but they have been punished and have also served their ban period, so they deserve another chance,” he says.
“The ICC is allowing them to continue to pursue their career which is great but make no mistake, their entry into the Pakistan team is not a given based on their past performances. Their current performances and form will need to be monitored carefully and they will need to prove that they are once again capable of representing Pakistan,” Sohail, who has scored 2,823 Test and 4,780 ODI runs for Pakistan, adds.
Sohail insists that the trio’s entry into the national team should not be rushed. “Not only will the skill of these players be put to the test but also other intangibles will come into play before they can make a comeback for Pakistan,” he says.