Posts Tagged new PCB chairman

A TALE OF TWO SHOAIBS

Pakistan cricket is in doldrums. Every passing day Ijaz Ahmed is plaguing Pakistan with his incompetence. One loses the will to fathom what exactly is the problem with the Patron in Chief of PCB and why there is a reluctance to change the PCB Chairman? The PCB’s stupidities are not amusing, shocking or funny anymore. They have frankly become

Critising Butt has become boring now, but what else can concerned journalists do?

boring.

The latest stupid shocker to have emerged from the PCB is the return of the 2 Shoaibs.Shoaib Akhtar is 34 on paper and not getting any younger. The last that was heard of Akhtar before he got selected for the Asia Cup was that he had participated in a domestic tournament and had apparently impressed the selectors. This is no big deal as Akhtar has a good record in domestic tournaments but somehow cannot remain fit during international matches.

One wonders if some strategy should be devised to handle the controversial Akhtar, perhaps one where he is not utilised for more than 3 overs in one spell. However this is easier said than done. Firstly, the Pakistani team management is not known for inventing effective strategies. Secondly, the whole bowling strategy would have to be centred around Akhtar and other

Watching Akhtar survive a series without fitness issues would be a miracle

bowlers may be disadvantaged as a result. Asif, Aamer, Afridi and Ajmal are good bowlers in their own right and their strengths and abilities must not be compromised insofar that Akhtar is being facilitated.

There is a saying, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” One fails to understand why the Pakistani management takes so much liberties with bowling, when bowling is the least of Pakistan’s worries. When Akhtar gets unfit, the team morale suffers. Plus, Akhtar has issues with teammates like Asif and Afridi. Is it worth playing Akhtar? The Pakistan management keeps playing at least one of Malik and Misbah which weakens the batting, but they are not concerned with the batting! They want to fiddle with the already capable bolwing attack but they do not want to play deserving youngsters in the places of Malik and Misbah. All cricket commentators say that there are many bolwers like Mohammad Aamer in the domestic circuit, yet the PCB wants to play Akhtar instead of giving someone else a chance.

The allegations against the other Shoaib (Malik) are grave and longstanding. Malik is accused of creating factions in the

Lao barati! Bajao band baaja! Aaye Malak saab dulhey raaja.....

team ever since the departure of Inzamam. He is also accused of selfish batting and playing only for himself, not for the team. Despite countless newspaper reports and opinions of cricketers like Abdul Qadir, Sarfraz Nawaz, Afridi and Younis Khan, most people in Pakistan favour Malik’s inclusion in the team. Not only has Malik been blamed for regional bias in the selection of players when he was captain, he also admitted fixing a high profile domestic semi final match. It has been revealed that he refused to bat in a difficult position in a match when it was realised that the pitch was supporting bowlers. Yet, the PCB has excused Malik and he is well and truly back. What kind of justice is this?

Malik’s reinclusion in the team is conclusive evidence of that fact that, in Pakistan if you have connections you can be the biggest criminal, most incompetent, useless person but you will still be able to benefit from a depraved system.

Perhaps the reason why deserving players like Fawad Alam and Hammad Azam are ignored is that the selectors do not want to take risks for fear of losing their credibility. If players like Malik and Misbah fail then the selectors have this

The talented Hammad Azam will have to wait before he gets his chance

excuse that they selected experienced players and hence the fingers get pointed towards the players more than the selectors. This has to be the reason for this inexplicable selection of at least one of Malik and Misbah in every series?

Afridi claims he has remedied his problems with Malik and Akhtar and his team is united. Even if Malik and Akhtar perform in this series this cannot wash away their misdemeanours of yesteryears. The passionate Pakistani cricket fans deserve better than to see these 2 players back in action again.

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IJAZ BUTT IS FACING FLAK

Butt is unprofessional, uncouth, incompetent and a liability

Butt is unprofessional, uncouth, incompetent and a liability.

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”.

Pakistan cricket seems to be missing Nasim Ashraf

Pakistan cricket seems to be missing Nasim Ashraf

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.

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QADIR SPINS A GOOGLY

Qadir is the Chief Selector and has made his presence felt due to innovative views

Qadir is the Chief Selector and has made his presence felt due to innovative views

Abdul Qadir was a great legspinner for Pakistan who bamboozled many batsmen in his career. As Chief Selector for the Pakistan Cricket Board, Qadir has made a couple of interesting suggestions which this thread explores.

CAPTAIN APPOINTED ON SERIES BY SERIES BASIS

This is a welcome suggestion looking at the current captain, Shoain Malik. Malik has evoked mixed reaction from cricket fans during his captaincy tenure. Generally, a lot of the reaction is due to factors such as the dearth of cricket being played by the national team. However, Malik has been observed in ODI cricket and his captaincy has not

Malik has faced flak, but some argue he has fought back well

Malik has faced flak, but some argue he has fought back well

lived up to expectations. He appears a weak and uncharismatic leader who is more concerned about securing his place in the side, as opposed to improving team morale and gaining respect of players. However, consistent domestic performances in both batting and bowling and leading Sialkot and Punjab to victory in domestic competitions has altered the opinion of many of Malik’s critics, such as Inzamam.

CRICKET-RSA-PAK-ODI

Afridi has been Pakistan's 2nd best bowler in 2008, yet he risks being dropped, perhaps permanently

Malik’s position has benefited from the unavailability of Yousuf due to his contract with the ICL and the dip in batting form of Shahid Afridi, two players who announced their willingness to take over from Malik as captain of the team. In fact, the Malik-Afridi rivalry is no secret to most. With Younis backing Malik and Misbah not being approached for the captaincy position, it seems Malik will remain captain but if the choice is between extending his tenure for a year or evaluating his performance on a series-by-series basis, the latter option is better for Pakistan cricket.

SEPARATE TEAMS FOR ODI, TEST AND T20

This was the other bombshell dropped by Qadir, which has raised mixed response. This suggestion is certainly innovative and sensible. Pakistan cricket has seen a sharp decline of late and having specialist teams for different formats can work in many ways. Firstly, more players will be tried and fresh faces

Yasir Arafat is who an experienced all rounder, can benefit if Qadir's proposals are implemented

Yasir Arafat, who is an experienced all rounder, can benefit if Qadir's proposals are implemented

will be seen. For instance, players like Yasir Arafat and Mansoor Amjad, who have age on their side as well as capability of performing more than one role, can gain if they are slotted in the T20 team, because experienced players like Afridi and Kaneria will be considered before them in ODI’s or Tests.  Secondly, Pakistan has recently relied on all rounders too much, with the result that both batting and bowling have suffered a setback. For example, Abdul Razzaq’s last few years in international cricket were nothing to write home about. He was a liability in batting, and a liability in bowling. Qadir’s ideas can help restrict players like Razzaq and Rana to a format where they can compete with top international players- Twenty20.

Under Qadir's suggestion, talented players like Nasir Jamshed can get more exposure to international cricket

Under Qadir's suggestion, talented players like Nasir Jamshed can get more exposure to international cricket

One argument is that Pakistan has needed all rounders to compensate for weak openers. Surely, if openers are not performing consistently, support is needed lower down the order and people have used this argument to justify playing players like Razzaq and Rana. However, Qadir’s recommendation can also help alleviate this dilemma. Format-specific openers can be tried. For example, Imran Nazir (if his ban is overturned) and Nasir Jamshed, both big hitters, can be utilised for T20 whereas openers like Butt and Khurram Manzoor, who are more cautious batsmen, can be used in Tests.

Of course, even without format-specific teams, PCB can slot random players to play for certain formats, but the economic concepts of division of labour and specialisation can help explain why treating Qadir’s proposals seriously, might help. Players can become better by playing the same format over and over again. For instance, someone like Imran Nazir can be considered as an automatic selection in T20, and he can always be guaranteed a place in T20 cricket. This will improve his confidence and also his fitness level- since he will be playing frequently. He will also not need to worry about other openers taking his place that much, because he will have a specialist role and he will know that he will always be considered over a more defensive opener, such as Khurram Manzoor for example. This strategy will help fast bowlers even more. Bowlers can benefit from more frequent international exposure which will improve their mental competitiveness, provide them with an incentive to keep their fitness top-notch and will also help their confidence.

To conclude, Abdul Qadir’s views have emerged as a breath of fresh air, considering the lack of planning and absence of sensible decisions by the PCB for a long time. Miandad, the Director General of PCB has expressed disapproval of these ideas because he thinks it is too much hassle, but it is submitted that implementation of such proposals is beneficial for Pakistan cricket for the longer term.

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