Players couldn't have escaped the changing veneer of the society triggered largely by anti-American sentiments and by what most Pakistanis and the Islamic world interpret as war against Islam
‘Never in my career was I offered to throw a match,’ says Ramiz Raja, former Pakistani skipper and cricket star. Known for his stylish batting style, Ramiz Raja was part of the 1992 Pakistani squad that won the cricket World Cup under Imran Khan’s captaincy. In an interview with Viewpoint, he discusses the Islamization of Pakistan eleven, betting scandal and his own experiences. Read on:
Do you think match-fixing problem has undermined Pakistan’s performance internationally?
Fixing issues clearly have been the biggest hurdles in the growth of Pakistan team.
Was anybody ever involved in match-fixing under Imran Khan’s captaincy?
Never did we hear about the fixing term under Imran. He was an honourable leader.
Were you ever asked to fix a match?
Never in my career was I offered to throw a match.
How cricket can be rid of dirty practices like betting?
I don't think that we will be ever able to rid the game of the impurities like fixing etc. but you have to say that the cricket fraternity and players are more aware of their responsibilities towards the sport than ever before, especially after the spot fixing scandal, to present its greatness in its true light.
What explains Islamization of cricket especially under Inzmam ul Haq’s captaincy?
The Islimization culture in the team under Inzi was the sign of times! They couldn't have escaped the changing veneer of the society triggered largely by anti-American sentiments and by what most Pakistanis and the Islamic world interpret as war against Islam.
How do you view Imran Khan’s entry into politics?
It's great to see people from different walks of life take to politics. It gives our politics a positive make over. I think Imran Khan is a great addition to the political map. He will always have good wishes of the 1992 World Cup winning players.
You have made a mark as a commentator as well. Did you go for some education?
I wasn't coached by any one and I don't think that you can be tutored in this art. To become a good commentator you have to be intelligent and have to have a feel for the game.
Is it hard to stay neutral when you are commenting when Pakistan are playing against another team?I try to be as neutral as possible and as unbiased with my comments as I can be. But I will be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by Pakistan's performance! People that I know tell me that my voice develops high and low notes with Pakistan's highs and lows at play!
Naila Inayat is a Lahore-based journalist. She can be reached at www.facebook.com/nailainayat