Pakistan cricket at lowest point – PCB

KARACHI, (Reuters) – Pakistan cricket has reached its lowest point due to a string of scandals involving players cheating, teams not touring the country and court cases, Pakistan Cricket Board interim chief Najam Sethi said.

“The way I see it Pakistan cricket is at the lowest ebb, we are not winning, our cricketers and umpires are embroiled in cheating scandals, teams don’t want to tour Pakistan because of security issues, things were never this bad,” Sethi told reporters after returning home after attending the International Cricket Council (ICC) meetings in London.

Sethi, a journalist and political analyst, was appointed by the government to head the PCB last month after the Islamabad high court stopped Zaka Ashraf from working as chairman of the board on a constitutional writ petition which challenged his election in May.

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

Sethi said that Pakistan cricket needed to take radical steps to avert a crisis.

“I am going to address all these issues first and foremost the team needs to start doing well again and we need to clean up our cricket as we have been embarrassed enough,” he said.

Since 2010 when the spot fixing scandal broke out on the tour to England four Pakistan cricketers have been found guilty and banned, including former captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Danish Kaneria.

Test umpire Nadeem Ghouri was also banned for four years in April on corruption charges.

No foreign team has toured Pakistan since 2009 when militants attacked a Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in which six Pakistani policemen and a van driver were killed and members of the touring side wounded.

“As far as international teams coming to Pakistan is concerned that will only happen when the security situation improves,” Sethi said.

“The truth is no one wants to play in Pakistan in existing circumstances and we need to give teams iron clad guarantees on security to even bring representative teams to the country.”

On the pitch, Pakistan have struggled for form this year. They were whitewashed in a test series in South Africa and then lost all three group matches in last month’s Champions Trophy in England.

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