PCB interim chief Sethi says Pak cricket at 'lowest ebb'

Islamabad, July 4 (ANI): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) interim chief Najam Sethi has said that cricket in the country has reached its lowest point due to a string of scandals involving cheating players, teams not touring the country and court cases.

According to the Daily Times, Pakistan's national team suffered a humiliating exit from the elite eight-nation ICC Champions Trophy in England last month, while four Pakistan players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir and Danish Kaneria - are banned for spot-fixing.

Stating that Pakistan cricket is at the lowest ebb, Sethi said that things were never this bad for the country until it got embroiled in the cheating, corruption and the security issues.

The report also said that Pakistani umpire Nadeem Ghouri was suspended for four years for agreeing to cheating as exposed in an Indian TV sting operation last year, while PCB chairman Mohammad Zaka Ashraf was also suspended on charges of controversy over his election, forcing the new government to appoint Sethi until Ashraf's case is decided.

The board is also facing a number of court petitions from its affiliated regional units over the election process in which Ashraf became the first elected board chairman, the report also mentioned.

According to Sethi, radical steps were needed to avert a crisis in Pakistan cricket, adding that the foremost among them is the improvement of the team, followed by cleaning up of the cricket, which has become tainted by the corruption and cheating scandals.

On the pitch, Pakistan have struggled for form this year, with a whitewash in a Test series in South Africa, followed by the loss of all three group matches in last month's ICC Champions Trophy in England.

Given the fact that no foreign team has toured Pakistan since the 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team, Sethi admitted that international teams will only start coming to Pakistan when the security situation improves, adding that the teams needed to be given iron clad guarantees on security to even bring representative squads to the country.

Stating that he has discussed with England and the West Indies boards for sending unofficial teams, Sethi further said that he has assured the ICC and other countries that a new government has taken over and that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is determined to root out terrorism. (ANI)

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