Mohali, Mar 29(ANI): Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's public warning to the national cricket team against match-fixing has left the visiting squad fuming over the timing of the statement.
Sources in the national team revealed that the players were 'really angry' after being told about Malik's comments, but they decided not to react.
"Initially, nobody believed that a minister can issue such a warning so close to what is very, very important match for us," The News quoted a player, as saying on the condition of anonymity, while referring to Pakistan's eagerly-awaited World Cup semi-final against India at the PCA Stadium on Wednesday.
"All of us are aware that match-fixing has been an issue for the Pakistan team, but what really have angered us is the timing and the manner in which this warning has been issued. It made us feel really bad," added the player.
Malik's statement also drew sharp reactions from former players, and Imran Khan, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup triumph in 1992, even questioned the minister's English language skills.
"The minister does not have a very good command on the English language so he must have meant something else. If one wants to stamp out corruption, the boards and the ICC need to get more vigilant. Spot-fixing is difficult to pick and the only way one can identify the same is when accounts of cricketers are disclosed," he was quoted as saying in an interview.
Another former captain Aamir Sohail said that Malik should have conveyed this message to the players privately.
"The timing and the way of the statement are not right. He should have told the players personally rather than telling it out in the media. However, there are fears of match-fixing in the semi-final," he said. (ANI)