Blind cricketer allegedly deprived of prize money by PBCC, faces possible ban

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LAHORE: In a video released on Monday, a member of the Pakistan blind cricket team, Idrees Saleem claimed that the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) had not given him the prize money announced by Peshawar Zalmi owner, Javed Afridi, for the team’s performance in the 2017 Blind T20 World Cup.

In the video, Idrees, the player in question stated that after the blind cricket team had secured the second place in the Blind T20 World Cup last year, Afridi had announced $20,000 prize money for the team.

Idrees alleged that PBCC Chairman Sultan Shah had refused to distribute the promised prize money on the pretext of substandard performance by the blind team. He further alleged that Saleem, in an audio message, had asked: “What did they [the cricketers] achieve?”

Moreover, the cricketer stated that upon his communication with the media, Shah instantly backtracked and assured of the prize money’s distribution among all team members.

“Next year [2018], the team was again a runner-up in the World Cup and the PBCC held a conference in which all 19 players and officials, except me, were handed the money,” informed Saleem about the prize money being distributed later and that too after another event.

“When I contacted PBCC Chairman Sultan Shah, he asked me to approach the media in order to receive my share of the money,” said Saleem.

Idrees, a father of three with a Masters degree in Education and a B1 category player, appealed to Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pakistan Chief Justice (CJP) Saqib Nisar and Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi to take notice of the issue.

However, PBCC Chairman Sultan Shah in a response video not only confirmed that Idrees was deprived of his promised share but went on to say that he was not rewarded owing to his ill attitude towards discipline.

Shah accused the cricketer of violating the players’ code of conduct multiple times and explained that the council had attempted to address the issue in-house and did not highlight it. Giving details of the distributed finances, Shah said that no national sports federation tolerates or overlooks the disciplinary issues and that the cricketing body had to set an example for others.

Shah further said that the Idrees Saleem should have abstained from approaching the media and could even face a ban since the code of conduct clearly specifies that internal PBCC affairs are not be raised in the media.