Former Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar has broken his silence on corruption issues in cricket, claiming that match-fixing was at its peak in 1996 and that the dressing room was not a good place to be with the environment far from conducive for the players.
Akhtar's comments comes in the wake of the verbal spat between legendary Pakistani players Javed Miandad and Shahid Afridi with the former captain Miandad accusing Afridi of fixing matches. Though the duo put their differences aside and patched up, it has brought the issue of match-fixing allegations once again which have plagued Pakistan cricket in recent times.
"Trust me it was the worst possible dressing room environment at that time (1996). There was a lot going on than just cricket and it was difficult to focus on cricket in the dressing room. It was a bad environment", said Akhtar to GeoTV.
Akhtar, who played 46 Test matches and 163 One Day Internationals picking up 178 and 247 wickets respectively in a career that lasted 14 years, was happy that the spat between Afridi and Miandad was resolved. The 41-year-old reportedly spoke to both Afridi and Miandad, urging him to end the spat through dialogue rather than wash their linen in public.
"To resolve the matter through talks was the most possible solution. I spoke to Afridi and Javed bhai to settle the matter outside court. If it would have gone to court, then a lot of names would have cropped up. My main concern was that. I told Afridi not to send a legal notice and advised Javed bhai to keep control of his anger and not say anything controversial in public. He exceeded his limits by uttering unnecessary things", the former pacer added.
The pacer also lauded Pakistan's 56-run victory over West Indies in their first day/night Test which took place at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The second Test is scheduled to take place between 21-25 October at Abu Dhabi.