PCB sacks Saleem Altaf

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sacked Saleem Altaf, Director of Special Project on World Cup 2011 with immediate effect.

Saleem Altaf said he had been accused of leaking a confidential email to the media which criticised the team.

The PCB confirmed that former fast bowler Saleem Altaf, who was overseeing the 2011 World Cup to be hosted in the subcontinent, was fired, but a top official played down the incident.

"Saleem Altaf's services were no more required but I would not say he was accused of leakage to the media,"
PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

But Altaf said he was sacked after local media published an email by the PCB chief accusing the national team of lacking commitment after they suffered their biggest-ever defeat against arch-rivals India this week.

"I have worked to the best of sincerity and honesty but today PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf called me to his office and accused me of leaking news to the media,"
Altaf told.

"He gave me the option of resigning or else said that he would sack me,"
Altaf added.

Saleem Altaf, 64, who played 21 Tests for Pakistan in the 1970s as a medium fast bowler, was made director for special projects after serving as chief executive of the PCB until September last year.

Altaf said he would consult an attorney.

"After I left Ashraf's room he came to my office and told me to read the transcript of a taped conversation which had my voice. He accused me of leaking secrets to the media,"
Altaf said.

"I replied that most of the things in the transcript were public knowledge and nothing is proved in the transcript. I will consult my lawyer and then decide my course of action,"
said Altaf.

India thrashed Pakistan by 140 runs in the tri-series match held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Tuesday. They posted a formidable 330-8 and then bowled Pakistan out for a paltry 190.

"The performance against India was embarrassing,"
Ashraf wrote in the email published in the media.

"It is not a question of losing a match but our overall performance and the lack of resolve and commitment bothered me the most,"
it added.

The email, which was addressed to manager Talat Ali and copied to captain Shoaib Malik and Pakistan's Australian coach Geoff Lawson, demanded swift action.

It was unclear how Altaf was alleged to have obtained the email.

"Please discuss these points and give us your considered response within the next 24 hours so that timely action can be taken before the next match against India on the 14th which will be the final,"
the message said.

India take on Bangladesh on Thursday, with Pakistan set to meet their foes again on Saturday.

Nasim Ashraf criticised the selection of the team, which did not include a regular spinner.

"The previous game against Bangladesh had clearly highlighted the characteristics of the track in Dhaka, that the spinners were going to play a crucial role,"
said Ashraf of Pakistan's 70-run win over the hosts on Sunday.

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