LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has warned the cricketers that they could face stiff penalties, including match bans, if they speak to the media without prior permission from the team management. A member of the Pakistan side said they had been told verbally by the board officials that it was off limits for every player including captain Shoaib Malik to speak to the media without getting clearance from the team management, said a report on a cricket website Sunday.
“We have been told that if we violate this new ruling we can be banned for a number of matches. But, the ban would be for how many matches they have not told us as yet,” the player said on condition of anonymity. “Obviously the players are not happy with the new restrictions which have come into effect more strictly after the World Cup,” he said.
Sources said two days back a few players were committed to appear on a television talk show on a sports channel. The channel finally had to cancel its scheduled programme after the board made it clear to the players that they could not make direct commitments with media. “The days of the players enjoying freedom to enter into deals with the media outlets are gone. So are the days of players ignoring the clauses of their central contracts,” a board official said. “The message to the players is very clear – If you don’t perform then don’t expect any favours or to be pampered,” he said.
Another player said because of the new strict conditions, some Pakistan team members were in a limbo and could lose thousands of rupees they would have earned by giving exclusive expert comments in the print media and on channels. Sources said fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had also got a dressing down from the authorities after giving statements on his availability for the Afro-Asia Cup One-day series in India this month. That was the reason behind the announcement that he was not fit to play for the Asia XI after he had given his availability.