KARACHI: Pakistan’s head coach Mickey Arthur Tuesday said he felt “gutted” over a fresh alleged spot-fixing scandal that has engulfed his team, adding any players found guilty only had themselves to blame.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has provisionally suspended Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed on charges linked to spot-fixing and meetings with bookmakers in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League.
Arthur, who took over as coach in May last year, said players “need to take responsibility for their actions”.
He added: “Players become greedy and that’s hurting international cricket in general and the recent case has hurt Pakistan.”
He singled out the loss of opener Sharjeel Khan, who scored three consecutive half centuries in the one-day series in Australia in January, as a major blow.
“He (Sharjeel) was in the team for all the formats. He had got his name on the map and he got himself fit and he was about to become an explosive player for us and it’s sad.”
But he added players could not plead ignorance about a failure to report approaches by would-be fixers because they had been warned repeatedly.
“All the boards including the PCB educate the players of the pitfalls,” he said. “They have gotten reams and reams of lectures from the ICC (International Cricket Council) anti-corruption unit and they are doing a great job in education.
“There should be no complacency on the part of the players because losing players to the greed of fixing is hugely disappointing,” he added.
Despite the losses of Sharjeel and Irfan, another regular in the limited overs’ sides, Arthur was upbeat about the team’s chances on the upcoming West Indies tour.
“I am excited to have a new captain in Sarfraz Ahmed,” he said, hailing the wicket-keeper batsman who has replaced Azhar Ali, adding new players would “bring more energy”.
Pakistan and the West Indies — currently eighth and ninth in the one-day rankings — are vying for a direct place in the 2019 World Cup in England.
The world’s top eight teams at the time of the cutoff date of September 2017 will qualify for while the rest will feature in a qualifying event in 2018.