Former Pakistan captain and chief selector Moin Khan said his reputation had forever been tarnished by the ‘Casino Scandal’ and blamed the local media for blowing the incident out of proportion and his eventual sacking over the issue.
“There is no doubt this casino scandal has tarnished my reputation and standing as a former captain and player,” a dejected Moin said in an interview.
“The incident really hurt my reputation and pride and caused problems for me and my family. But the way the media presented the matter negatively and played it up was very disappointing for me because all my career I had an unblemished record as player and captain,” the 43-year-old former wicketkeeper added.
Moin served as Pakistan’s manager and chief selector before the World Cup but relinquished one post on the condition that he would be permitted to travel with the team for the big event. The move surprised many and his presence reportedly became a bone of contention for the players and the team management.
Things came to a head when Moin visited a casino in Christchurch, New Zealand, before Pakistan’s crucial match against the West Indies. Fans, upset at Pakistan’s poor show in their opening World Cup matches, took to social media to vent their frustration at Moin when pictures of him at the casino circulated in the media.
He was subsequently ordered back from Australia and relieved of his duties after Pakistan’s World Cup ended with a quarter-final loss to Australia.
Moin was replaced as chief selector by Haroon Rashid in a overhaul of sorts after suggestions from the World Cup review committee.
But the veteran of 69 Test and 219 ODIs said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had acted in haste.
“It is not a crime to go and have food in a Casino or pose for some photographs with friends or fans in the Casino. The matter was not so big as it was made out to be. The board should have trusted me and it didn’t handle the issue properly. Calling me back sent out all the wrong signals.”
The PCB on March 30 appointed Azhar Ali as captain of the One-day International team with Sarfraz Ahmed as his deputy while Haroon Rasheed replaced Moin as chief selector in what many former players said was the start of a ‘new era’ for Pakistan cricket.