If former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has his way, he will have the country’s tainted cricketers “open grocery stores”.
Ramiz hit out at the Pakistan Cricket Board for reintegrating players such as Mohammad Amir, who served prison time and a long ban from the game for involvement in spot-fixing, into the national team setup.
“You ask me I would say these tainted cricketers should open their grocery shops,” he said.
The former opener felt allowing tainted players back into the sport has damaged Pakistan cricket. “I have no doubt that giving concession to big names also damaged Pakistan cricket,” he said, referring to Amir.
Ramiz said he was concerned that the selectors are not able to find replacements for tainted players.“There is once again talks of redrafting Sharjeel Khan into the team which is not right and can damage Pakistan cricket,” he said.
Ramiz felt that Pakistan cricket has already suffered enough because of the board’s indecisive policy on players who are found guilty of corruption.
He praised batsman Babar Azam and said he is a world-class player, but needs a conducive atmosphere to express himself. “There is no doubt about Babar Azam’s ability, he is a world-class player,” said Ramiz.
“When people ask me about comparison between Babar Azam with the likes of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith I would say he can do even better than Kohli but he needs a conducive atmosphere and the freedom to express himself more as a player and as captain,” he added.
He also advised Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq to bank on youngsters in the T20 format.
“I have nothing personal against Mohammad Hafeez or Shoaib Malik who are senior players and have served the country for a long time. But I think now the selectors need to think about replacing them with youngsters and groom them properly.”
Ramiz observed that T20I is a format for youngsters and that Pakistani selectors have been insisting on picking seniors in recent times.