Najam Sethi: Who needs cricketing knowledge to head the PCB?

Published: June 27, 2013
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A very capable and seasoned pair of hands was needed to steer the ship back into steady waters. PHOTO: AFP

It seems that the trend of political interference in the selection of the head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues with Najam Sethi’s appointment by the current government, despite the ICC’s continued efforts to put an end to it.

The ICC knows it’s futile to expect anything else, but it has to go through the motions and fulfil the formalities, much like parents when going out and leaving their kids unsupervised implore them not to stay up and watch TV too late.

After the disastrous performance by the players in the Champions Trophy, there was more scrutiny on the PCB than ever before.

With a deteriorating infrastructure that was failing to produce quality cricketing talent, mired in controversies and allegations of nepotism and sexual misconduct, a very capable and seasoned pair of hands was needed to steer the ship back into steady waters.

And that is why the current government went with Najam Sethi, a senior journalist with no prior experience in cricketing matters whatsoever.

Obviously this news was met with bewilderment by the uninitiated, confused as to how and why such a decision was made. Even our journalists seemed to be at a loss for words.

Others seemed to imply that something more nefarious in nature might be going on.

Leave it to some people to try to stir the pot on every occasion. Couldn’t it just be possible that Najam Sethi is trying to boost his CV for a dream job he has been coveting?

Whatever the case may be, in taking up the sought-after position of (Interim) PCB Chief, soon after his tenure as Caretaker Chief Minister, Najam Sethi has shown that formal qualifications and substantial work experience in a related capacity are completely unnecessary for high level positions.

The haters need to cut Sethi some slack. What he might lack in competency or experience can be made up by enthusiasm.

As Hansel, in his immortal words in the film Zoolander says,

“I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I’m selling? No. Do I know what I’m doing today? No. But I’m here, and I’m gonna give it my best shot.”

News about his lack of cricketing knowledge has also been largely overblown.

After all, like he explained at the press conference, he watched cricket religiously when Imran Khan was playing, and he also used to play as an opening batsman when he was in school.

And he proved he had tremendous insight into the game through his editorials in The Friday Times. An alleged copy of one of them, dated March 5, 1992, is doing the rounds on the internet, in which he lambasts Imran Khan for trying to keep in the limelight to raise funds for his hospital and playing only for himself, which Najam Sethi muses, will lead to the downfall of the team in the 1992 world cup. He also argued that Imran Khan had no place in the team as a bowler.

Of course, Pakistan went on to win the World Cup. Simpletons might laugh at Najam Sethi, but those that know better know that it was Sethi’s advice that motivated Imran Khan to lead the team to victory.

Besides, I ask you, with a team that is criticised for fielding players for their name value or connections rather than based on merit, who better to fix that culture than Najam Sethi?

After he is done saving the PCB for a grateful nation, here are five other voids that he can fill. While it might seem that he isn’t remotely qualified for any of these slots, we should brush that aside as mere semantics.

–          Najam Sethi can go on tour with Led Zeppelin as their new vocalist.

–          Najam Sethi can replace Christian Bale in the reboot of the Batman series.

–          Najam Sethi can be appointed as Chief of Police (I’m sure he has also played cops and robbers when he was a kid.)

–          Najam Sethi can become Interim Afghanistan prime minister.

–          Najam Sethi can become the first Pakistani astronaut on the moon.

What are other jobs that you think Najam Sethi can be appointed to carry out?

Read more by Mani here or follow him on Twitter @BallerinaAngry

Mani Khawaja

Mani Khawaja

A journalist and musician. He tweets @manikhawaja88 (twitter.com/manikhawaja88)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.