PCB restores Sarfaraz Nawaz’s long-pending pension

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has restored the pension of former Test pace bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, who had all his payments suspended since January 2017 after making unsubstantiated defamatory statements against former chairman Najam Sethi.

The ex-gratia payments were discontinued as a result of disciplinary proceedings initiated against Nawaz by the previous set-ups of the PCB over his violation of the code of conduct under the Players’ Welfare Policy.

Nawaz, who is not keeping well after a health scare in London last year, met with the PCB chief Zaka Ashraf – who is also the head of the board’s cricket management committee – in Lahore on Tuesday in a bid to resolve the suspended ex-gratia payments.

Nawaz assured the PCB of his compliance with the code of conduct. Ashraf handed over a cheque to Nawaz to settle the outstanding payments in the presence of the head of the technical committee, Misbah-ul-Haq, and member Mohammad Hafeez. The payment was made to Nawaz under the PCB’s players’ welfare policy, and the PCB chief assured unconditional support for former players.

Ashraf said he decided to meet with Nawaz and hear him about, as he was upset to learn that a former Test cricketer was in a bad condition and was being deprived of his pension, which was his right.

“It is disappointing that the previous administrations have used the PCB’s coffers to settle personal scores,” Ashraf said. “No cricketer should have to go through what Nawaz had to face, and I want to reassure every former and current cricketer – international or domestic – that the PCB considers them as its asset, and will look after them at every stage of their life, and in every possible way. They deserve to be loved and respected by their cricket board.”

Sethi, as chairman of the board, had filed a libel suit against Nawaz for making unsubstantiated allegations against him. Nawaz had, a few months back, appealed to the board to end the matter.

Nawaz said he was happy to see the matter resolved due to his health problems. “I have visited the National Cricket Academy after almost six years and received a warm welcome from the PCB officials,” he said. “I am pleased that Mr Zaka Ashraf has reinstated my pension.

“In a voluntary capacity, I offer honourary services to the board to enhance fast bowlers’ skills for cricket’s advancement.”

Nawaz played 55 Tests and 45 ODIs for Pakistan from 1969 to 1984, and is famous for his stunning figures of 9 for 86 against Australia in Melbourne in 1979, when at one stage he took seven wickets for just one run to set up a famous victory.

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