Ijaz Butt is feeling the heat these days. The Pakistan Senate is investigating him for incompetence and financial mismanagement. On top of that, he is suffering from health problems. Butt has been at the helm for just over six months, and although that is not a lot of time to judge one’s credibility, Pakistan cricket has lost substantially in a short span of time. Domestic cricket standards are deteriorating, there are administrative problems such as procedural issues with Miandad’s appointment, there are lawsuit threats from all corners, PCB is almost bankrupt and on top of that no cricket team is wanting to tour Pakistan.
Butt’s appointment was based on unreasonable and impulsive emotions and it was influenced by some aides of President Zardari. However, now even Butt’s cloest supporters are doubting his maturity and competenece. The Pakistan Senate even went as far as commenting that Butt is running the PCB like “a grocery shop”.
Dr Nasim Ashraf (DNA) is an educated and refined civil servant who has broad management experience. He has been conferred the highest civilian awards in Pakistan. These are the achievements of DNA which the media is reluctant to publicise:
1) He delivered the only Constitution of the PCB. Those before him promised the same, but none successfully kept their promises
2) Persisted with Hairgate inasmuch as getting Hair sacked from the Elite Panel of the ICC Umpires
3) Promoted regional academies so that quality of training could be commendable outside Lahore
4) Apportioned more funds to local development of cricket, again so that regional cricket in provinces could benefit instead of all the funds being diverted centrally to Lahore
5) Built corporate partnerships with sponsors and arranged for the media to cover first class cricket
6) Increased pay, prize money and match fees for domestic cricket
7) Built more grounds in remote parts of the country
8] Started a pensions system for players
These are just some of DNA’s achievements and the LS management salutes him for working for the betterment of cricket across the country.
Javed A Khan has covered this issue earlier in two threads about whether educated managers or bureaucrats are more suitable for the role or whether past cricketers should run the management of cricket in the country. After DNA’s exit most Pakistanis were arguing for a past cricketer to run the PCB. However, the disaster of Butt has taught Pakistanis a lesson- that you cannot make such high level decisions based on petty biases and emotions. It has also taught Pakistanis that education and refinement are two qualities that any person in a position of authority should have, and that education is not necessarily a university degree, but knowing the difference between decency and uncouth behaviour.
Even if one argues that things went wrong in DNA’s tenure, which is a fact, at least DNA handled matters with grace and dignity. Ijaz Butt is intent on making a fool of himself. Firstly his handling of Lawson proved what an uncultivated and uncouth person he is. I am no fan of Geoff Lawson, but any coach deserves a more dignified exit. After that Butt dealt with Miandad like he was dealing with a “dhobi” or “dhabay-wala” and it was extremely humiliating for PCB that its Director General was appointed in such a pathetic and crude manner. Now Butt is involved in a spat with the Senate. He is treating the Senate like it is some kind of “prank caller” who is a nuisance to him. It seems Butt never went to college or university, because he should know that even if the Senate has no actionable jurisdiction over his working methods, he is a public servant and hence that makes him answerable to the superior body in Islamabad that is meant to represent Pakistan.
Under DNA’s management PCB had a sense of direction, even though there were many hurdles in its path. The appointment of Malik was a mistake, but DNA cannot be held wholly responsible for it. It is a fact PCB wanted a captain who would be more willing to give into the demands of the PCB and who would attract support from most of the players, as well. However, perhaps DNA can be excused for wanting a more pliant captain. Inzamam proved to be a dictator as captain and insisted on having everything his way. Despite this Pakistan suffered notable losses in his captaincy and overall Inzamam could not prove to be a successful captain. Hence the PCB wanted a change and Malik at that time seemed the only viable option. Even the PCB’s selection policy had a sense of direction- recruitment was based on current form and the selectors understood the need for having a balance between experience and young talent in the team.
However, under the current set up, there is no certainty and no direction. Butt does not know whether to treat Asif and Akhtar as heroes or villains. Further, in a desperate situation Younis Khan has been appointed as captain; an individual who wants to take matters in his own hands and who prefers having experienced players in the side as opposed to youth. The selection committee is totally clueless because they find themselves having to appease almost everyone- the captain, the public and the rest of the cricket board. That is why there was a list of something like 50 probables right before the squad of 15 was announced for the Sri Lanka series.
Hence, the fans have had enough with Ijaz Butt and he should resign at once. Zardari needs to appoint someone who can handle the job with dignity and who has the education and vision to get Pakistan cricket back on track.