KARACHI: Pakistan may be under the scanner following a corruption scandal involving three of their leading players but the country’s cricket officials believe that there is no need to press the panic button.
Earlier this month, the International Cricket Council (ICC) gave Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) 30 days to put its house in order or face sanctions including a possible suspension from international cricket.
A growing list of PCB’s critics fears that the Board which has signed a letter agreeing to a series of steps to improve its handling of corruption issues might not be able to deliver in time.
However, the country’s cricket officials remain positive.
Ask Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam and he will tell you that there is no need to worry.
“We are on the right track,” Intikhab said.
“We have already taken several steps, according to the ICC guidelines and Iím confident that the PCB will carry out all possible measures within the given deadline,” he added.
In its understanding with the ICC, Pakistan have agreed to implement an special eight-point anti-corruption initiative.
In a statement issued on October 13, ICC hinted at sanctions against Pakistan if it failed to adhere to the new guidelines. ICC also declared that PCB “must act and be seen to be acting to uphold the zero-tolerance attitude to corruption in sport”.
Intikhab, as Pakistan’s new manager, will be the forefront of an exercise to keep his team’s player under control.
“The message (to the players) is loud and clear,” said Intikhab. “Enough is enough and the players will have to abide by the code of conduct.”
Intikhab said that the players have been given extensive briefings about the anti-corruption measures being taken by the PCB.
“We have spelt out everything. The players will be given everything in writing as well. If something happens next time, they won’t be able to say that they didn’t know anything about it.”
The burly Intikhab is normally seen as a father figure in Pakistan’s cricket circles but the 68-year-old former Test captain is ready to play the role of a strict headmaster during the upcoming tour of the UAE where his team will play South Africa.
“I will make it sure that the players are disciplined during the tour,” said Intikhab. “With the eyes of the cricket world on us, they will have to be at their best behaviour and prove Pakistan’s critics wrong.”
Intikhab said that he will not hesitate in sending a player back home if there is any case of indiscipline.
“I hope I don’t have to send anyone back home but I won’t hesitate in doing that if such a need arises in the UAE,” he stressed.
Intikhab was Pakistan’s coach during their tour of Australia that was beset by indiscipline.
“That was a different role altogether,” he said. “I was looking after the team’s on-field activities. But as manager my job is totally different. I have to take care of the team off the field and let me make it clear that I intend to adopt a zero tolerance policy for indiscipline.”
Pakistan concluded their brief preparatory camp in Lahore on Thursday and will leave for Abu Dhabi in the wee hours of Saturday. Pakistan will play two Twenty20 Internationals, five One-day Internationals and two Tests against South Africa during the ‘home’ series to be held from October 26-November 4 in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.