A former president of the International Cricket Council blamed Pakistan cricket authorities for the state of the game in the country and denied the ICC was picking on Pakistan.
"ICC is not against Pakistan, it's Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) which is against their cricket and has not sorted out their problems, forcing the ICC to take the matters in its hands," said Ehsan Mani, ICC president 2003-2006. "The way PCB is being run, it is only to protect the position of one person," he added, without specifically naming under fire PCB chairman Ijaz Butt.
Pakistan's recent tour of England was marred by newspaper allegations of spot-fixing during a Test at Lord's in August, leading to the ICC suspending three key players. The ICC on Sunday turned down an appeal from Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Aamer against the suspension. The third accused, Mohammad Asif, had withdrawn his appeal.
The ICC has ordered Pakistan to implement measures to curb alleged corruption and other problems, warning failure to clean up its act could result in sanctions. No international teams have toured Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team's bus in March last year, meaning huge financial losses and fears that interest in the sport will start to wane among the youth.
"The PCB should have taken the lead and sorted those things out," Mani said, late on Monday. "It is because we are not capable of doing it that the ICC has said we will step in. I know some of the people on the (ICC) committee and they seriously have Pakistan's cricket at heart, I've got no doubt about that," said Mani.
Mani said the PCB had plenty on its plate. "Domestic cricket, schools' cricket, clubs' cricket - I hear there are quite a lot of issues in domestic cricket in Pakistan which needed to be addressed," he said. "You will always find that the boards with the best systems, like Australia and India, their teams will always do better because the team selection, the selection of the selectors, is a whole process."
"At the moment our system, is only at the whim of one person. You will only get a board as good or bad as its chairman," he adde