The next time you think of interviewing a Pakistan cricketer, ensure that you have enough money in your pocket. After Shoaib Malik quoted a price for an interview to a journalist on Sunday, Pakistan skipper Younis Khan on Tuesday said he had no objection to his colleague's demand. It proved that Mallik's asking bucks for bytes wasn't an aberration but in conformity with the thinking of the entire team.
"You should have given the money," was Younis Khan's brazen reply when told that Malik had asked to be paid for an interview. "We are professionals and I don't think Malik was wrong. After all the press cashes in on the interviews."
Younis said journalists should not approach players for interviews directly as their contracts did not allow them to speak to everyone. He said they should be approached through the team manager.
That begs the question. What happens to the contractual obligations when players agree to give an interview in return for money?
Pakistan manager Talat Ali had refused to comment when asked on Monday if the players were within their rights to demand money from the media and if the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had any guidelines in this regard. Other officials in Pakistan cricket also stayed away from the debate. In Delhi, Saleem Altaf, the PCB's cricket operations director, said, "I came to India only on Monday night. I reached Chandigarh only today (Tuesday. I have no comment to make."
MP Pandove, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) joint secretary, said the Indian board too would be fine if the Indian players started demanding money for journalistic interaction. He said the subject was not even discussed in the Players Contracts.
“There are clauses that prevent players from speaking about certain issues like team selection and its merits and demerits," he said. "But as far as giving general interviews is concerned, there are no rules.”