While the Pakistani nation is busy witnessing their star players show off their talents in the ongoing domestic T20 championship at The Qaddafi Stadium, the atmosphere off the field isn’t too cold either. Just two days after PCB issued its One-Day captain (Shahid Afridi) a show-cause notice for commenting on the team selection of the very squad he is scheduled to lead later this month, the PCB itself gets a warning from the ICC. After a meeting in Dubai (which extended to 2 days), the ICC has warned PCB to clean up its acts otherwise it will have to face consequences.
Since the time Mr. Ijaz Butt has taken charge of PCB, the relations between the board and the ICC have been on thin ice to say the least. Butt has taken the PCB on a rollercoaster ride like no other chairman has ever taken.
A short preview of the ride can be seen as under:
- Younis Khan made captain in place of Shoaib Malik.
- A T20 world cup victory.
- Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi made captains for different formats.
- Poor performances.
- M.Yousuf made captain.
- Poor performances.
- Ball biting incident.
- Players punished.
- T20 World cup loss.
- Players forgiven.
- Afridi named captain for all formats.
- Afridi resigns as test captain and announces retirement from test match cricket.
- Salman Butt gets a chance to lead.
- Spot/ Match fixing allegations.
- Three players including the captain suspended.
- Mediocre performance.
- Misbah ul Haq named test captain.
There’s been a lot more going on as well within the PCB, like shuffling, hiring and firing of personnel and a battle for authority between individuals.
As far as the international scenario is concerned, the PCB wasn’t too bothered about mending its ways in that regard as well.
- The Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore.
- Pakistan was deprived from its right to host matches of the World Cup 2011.
Butt’s tenure so far has been nothing short of a masala bollywood flick. It’s been full of action, adventure, thrill and suspense with an exaggerated amount of humor as well provided by the man himself with his statements in the press and media and then complete U-turns on the very statements.
A very capable wicket-keeper of his time, claiming 52 catches and 20 stumpings in First-class cricket, Butt seems to be handling matters with butterfingers these days. The chairman seems be relying upon the Federal Defense Minister (who is also Butt’s brother-in-law) to defend his position as the PCB chief. The Patron in Chief of PCB (President of Pakistan) however, should…… (aah! Never mind)
After a two-day long meeting in Dubai, the ICC has directed its task force (which was initially formed to examine ways to bring international cricket back to Pakistan soil) to go beyond its original task and assist PCB in improving its affairs. The team consists of Giles Clarke (Chairman ECB and leader of the task force), Peter Chingoka (chairman ZC), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka), Mike Brearley (England), Dave Richardson (SA) and Ramiz Raja (Pak).
PCB has been given 30 days to examine and review its structure which is being leisurely but gradually eaten up by the termite of corruption. In short, PCB has to have a pest control done within a month otherwise sanctions may be imposed on the board. The PCB is also directed to implement an education program for its players to groom them as responsible sportsmen before they come on to the field (the writer has stressed on the very point in an earlier post as well titled ‘in a fix again…’)
Frankly, 30 days isn’t a sufficient amount of time for any organization to mend its ways, especially when the organization is in a state of disarray as badly as the PCB. Surely, The PCB hasn’t faced any situation as terrible as this since the time it was founded (1948 as B.C.C.P.)
One can only hope Pakistan Cricket comes out of this predicament very soon and we find players and officials who are sincere to the game and genuinely play it as ‘The Gentleman’s Game.’
Hammad A. Mateen