Islamabad, Apr 2 : Former Pakistan cricketers, including Rashid Latif, have criticised the PCB's decision to ban fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for five years, saying the decision would immensely damage the sport in the country.
Describing Akhtar as a "match winner", they said that the PCB set-up had a personal vendetta against the talented bowler. They believed that the Board officials will be removed and the ban lifted soon.
Sarfraz Nawaz, a former Test cricketer and once Akhtar's coach said that the Board officials should be sacked if the government of the day wants to save the sport from being damaged.
"Disappointing is no word to describe Akhtar's ban, I would call it pathetic and request the new political government to sack Nasim Ashraf-led Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)," The News quoted Sarfraz as saying.
Akhtar was yesterday banned from playing cricket in Pakistan for five years for violating the players' code of conduct, effectively ending his 11-year career. The 32-year-old Akhtar appeared before a disciplinary committee charged him with publicly criticising the country's board. He was already on two years' probation for hitting a team-mate with a bat.
Nawaz said he would urge new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other coalition leaders to take "a serious notice of this unjust ban because Akhtar is the only match-winner in the team."
Nawaz predicted the current PCB members will be removed from office in the next few days. "I have come to know that this Pakistan Cricket Board set up, which has a personal vendetta against a talented bowler, will be removed and the high-ups have also decided on who will take over," said Nawaz, who played 55 Tests for Pakistan. He did not say who he thought was lined up.
Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif termed the ban damaging for Pakistan cricket. "Banning Akhtar will harm Pakistan cricket," Latif said and added that the team would be significantly weaker by this decision.
"Pakistan Cricket Board should have supported Akhtar more because there have been characters like Akhtar - there was John McEnroe in tennis and our own Aamir Sohail - who were temperamental yet talented and gave sports a lot to cheer," added Latif.