CHENNAI: The claim was sensational, and the denial bizarre. By saying without evidence that the Pakistan team has been “brought” into the Champions Trophy final and there was “no reason” for captain Sarfraz Ahmed “to be happy”, Aamer Sohail first made an irresponsible statement.
Then by saying he did not mean that and was actually being critical of Sarfaraz for showing disrespect towards Javed Miandad, Sohail has possibly surpassed the inaneness of his previous claim. Incorrect, speculative, damaging — there are several ways of looking at these remarks, and none of it is likely to enhance the reputation of the former Pakistan captain.
First, to say that Pakistan had been “brought into” the final is to imply that there were other forces working towards that goal. Not just the Pakistan team, but their opponents or the umpires/ICC/establishment or all of them have to collaborate to guarantee this possibility. To even indirectly imply something of this magnitude on TV programmes without any hint of evidence amounts to irresponsible behaviour of serious order.
“It’s unfortunate, coming from a former Pakistan captain, especially after such a performance from their team. Making such claims without anything to back them up is something that should be avoided. Being a former player commenting on cricket, one has to be more responsible, as there are millions listening to him,” wicketkeeper-turned-commentator Deep Dasgupta told Express.
Second, the recent history of Pakistan cricket and fixing-related activities is all the more reason for being judicious in such statements. Since 2010, at least five Pakistani international players have been suspended for being involved in spot-fixing, in Pakistan as well in England. To say that “we all know what went behind” without explaining ‘what’ is like stoking unnecessary fire.
In the sub-continent, where emotions run high and cricket often causes a lot of it, the opinion of someone of the stature of a reputed former batsman and national captain can influence and shape opinions. So Sohail’s remarks are irresponsible on several counts.
“A former player on TV is like a bridge between what’s happening on the field and viewers, who are expecting analyses of what is happening. It’s a serious role because people value your opinion. Considering the responsibility such a job entails, Sohail’s comments are uncalled for,” said Dasgupta on the role of cricketers who air their views on TV.