Arif has no ties with PCB, says Sethi

PESHAWAR: Najam Sethi distances national cricket board from Naveed Arif’s suspension over match fixing in English county game.

Pakistan’s cricket chiefs on Friday publicly disowned Sussex paceman Naveed Arif, who has been suspended by the English board on charges of match fixing.

The head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said they had “no relations” with Arif, who was charged on Thursday with six offences relating to a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent in August 2011.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also charged a former New Zealand batsman, Lou Vincent, who admitted to fixing in several countries.

Pakistan has an unenviable record for fixing and corruption in cricket, and PCB chief Najam Sethi was quick to stress Arif’s estrangement. “He has been out of Pakistan for the last three years and he has no relations with Pakistan cricket,” Sethi told reporters.

However, Arif featured in two matches in Pakistan’s domestic Twenty20 tournament for Sialkot Stallions in December 2012. He also toured Australia with Pakista’s ‘A’ team in 2009 before moving to England, where he qualified as a non-overseas player for Sussex through his wife’s Danish passport.

Sethi said Pakistan have taken tough measures to crack down on cricket fixers. “We have taken some stringent steps to stop corruption and have adopted zero tolerance on such things,” he said.

Former Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is serving a life ban for spot fixing in an English county game. Three players—Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer—were given bans and jail time for their role in spot-fixing in the now-notorious Lord’s Test against England in 2011.

A Pakistani international player who featured alongside Arif for the Stallions in 2012 said he was amazed to hear he was involved in fixing. “He [Arif] was a very shy and unassuming guy and had always played the game for passion,” the player said on condition of anonymity. “Maybe, he was lured into fixing as he failed to make it to the national team in Pakistan and wasn’t a regular member for the county.”