Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Lt General (retd) Tauqir Zia on Thursday revealed that Shoaib Akhtar’s career would have been over in the early 2000s had he not found support from the late ICC chief and former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Akhtar’s bowling action had come under scrutiny in 1999 with most ICC members then raising voice against it, deeming it to be illegal. However, the Rawalpindi Express had then found great support from Dalmiya, who served as the ICC’s president from 1997 to 2000.
“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,” Zia was quoted as saying by PTI.
“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.
Zia further claimed that several Pakistani cricketers under performed during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 due to faction among the teammates.
The report mentioned that Zia during an interaction with the GTV News Channel had then asked the team’s chief selector Wasim Bari to drop stalwarts like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Saeed Anwar from the World Cup squad.
Pakistan had then failed to progress to the Super Six stage of the tournament held in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“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,” Zia 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, who led the Pakistan side during the tournament failed to find support from few members of the squad. “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 that after the World Cup he sat down with Bari. “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.”
Zia also pointed out that they had 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.”
with PTI inputs
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