Veteran cricketer Aamir Sohail says big money is “good for cricket”

Former Pakistani captain Aamir Sohail - AFP
Former Pakistani captain Aamir Sohail – AFP
  • Aamir Sohail welcomes the deluge of legitimate money for cricket.
  • Says the big bucks are good for the sport.
  • Adds to say reduces the temptation to corruption.

Former Pakistani captain and match-fixing witness Aamir Sohail welcomes the deluge of legitimate money for cricket, which has seen players make millions in tournaments, and says it reduces the temptation to corruption.

Sohail’s heyday for the game came between 1990 and 2000, far too early to take advantage of the T20 revolution that the Indian Premier League began.

But the 55-year-old, who was a whistleblower – an expression he dislikes – in Pakistan’s 1990s match-fixing controversy, told AFP that the big bucks are good for the sport.

“It’s good that players are getting good money today,” said Sohail, who played 47 Tests and 156 ODIs.

“Temptations are there, but lately we have not received any news of offenses.”

“So if things are under control and cricketers get legal money, I think it’s very good for the game.”

Former Pakistani captain Salim Malik was banned for life for match-fixing and tempo bowler Ata-ur-Rehman for perjury after the country’s cricket board set up a judicial commission to investigate revelations from several players, including Sohail, about match-fixing.

Sohail, who is in Sri Lanka as a TV commentator and will call the two tests starting Saturday with Pakistan, added that current players should not complain about too much cricket.

“The modern cricketer, if he is striving to play the highest level of the game, then he should be prepared for its demands,” said Sohail, a left-handed opening player who was the key to Pakistan’s 1992 50-over World Cup triumph.

“Your level of fitness and hunger should match the level of play for your country.”

He praised Pakistani skipper Babar Azam for showing the way to the country’s new generation with his work ethic and productive race scoring.

“Babar has proven himself with his performance,” Sohail said.

“Now he has to live up to the expectations he has set for his batting and keep improving.”

The 27-year-old Babar has an average of over 45 in 40 tests and recently hit 196 in the second Australian test, which ended in a draw. Pakistan lost the series 1-0.

New tricks with old ball

Sohail rates the current Pakistani test team as full of talent, but says the fast bowlers need to develop new methods to make the old ball more effective when the reverse turn is not available.

“There is definitely room for improvement in test cricket. We used to rattle the opposition batting with our reverse turns in midfield,” Sohail said.

Pakistan have been pioneers in turning the ball, with former speedsters Sarfraz Nawaz, Imran Khan – who became prime minister – Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis rattling the opposition’s batsmen.

The new COVID-19 rules ban the use of saliva to maintain the old ball – a practice that helps reverse turns – and tempo bowlers, including India’s Jasprit Bumrah, believe sweating is not as effective.

But Sohail, who was also a left-arm spinner during his playing days, insists that it is not saliva but the changing nature of the pitch that has resulted in reverse turns at times becoming ineffective – and urged the fast-trackers to make adjustments. .

He said. “They are good with the new ball, good in the middle if it turns, but when it does not turn, they have nothing new,” he said.

“If our fast bowlers learn the art of working with the old ball, then our team will get far with the kind of talent we have.”

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