If the spot-fixing trio can get a second chance, why can’t ‘The Magician’?

Published: September 19, 2015
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It’s not Ajmal’s new action that has tainted his performance, rather it’s the behaviour of PCB. PHOTO: AFP

So what if Saeed Ajmal was ranked as the number one player in the ODI format by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or if he became the quickest Pakistani to take 100 Test wickets, this did not stop the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from treating him as shabbily as possible for his banned action which robbed him off his brilliant form.

Photo: AFP

This sends out a strong message to the existing as well as the upcoming off-spinners; don’t get your actions banned.

Great going, PCB!

There is a saying,

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.”

And this is exactly what has happened in case of Ajmal.

To me, it’s not Ajmal’s new action that has tainted his performance, rather it’s the behaviour of PCB. Or wait, let me go a step further by saying that we can’t blame PCB either, because what they are doing is something we did with all our heroes in the past. We treated them in the worst way possible.

Photo: AFP

It was definitely not in Ajmal’s hands when ICC banned him back in September 2014 and it’s also true that he is struggling with his re-modelled bowling action, but everyone has unfortunately overlooked the will power of this 37-year-old cricketer. The time and effort he took to re-model his action, get it approved from ICC, and make his come-back in the international cricket arena was inspiring. Most of us would not be able to achieve such a feat at that age.

Instead of rightfully supporting him during this difficult stage of his career, he has been side-lined by those who used to call him ‘The Magician’.

Ajmal’s demotion from category A to category B added fuel to the fire and all his former fans began saying he should retire. But who are they to decide? Chief Selector Haroon Rasheed’s recent statement was also confusing in which he stated,

“I have said the doors are still open for him if he can show us his new action has also become effective.”

Someone needs to ask chief sahib how on earth he’s expecting a display of effectiveness from a player who he has conveniently side-lined?

Regardless of whether Ajmal should retire or not, the matter of his demotion goes to show that PCB and its board treat cricketers like race horses, the ones that can’t run are pushed to the side.

To me, Ajmal’s last statement in which he said he wants to retire with ‘respect and honour’ sounded more like he was pleading or begging. We’ve pushed him to the edge and now he’s started feeling sorry for himself, and why shouldn’t he? We deserted him at a time when he needed support from the board and other cricketers.

If PCB can give a second chance to criminal cricketers who were convicted of spot fixing, why can’t they give a second chance to a player who helped Pakistan make it to the top, performance wise.

Photo: AFP

PCB has all the right and authority to make decisions regarding the promotion and demotion of cricketers, but they do not have the right to take away our heroes pride and push them to such an extent that they begin feeling sorry for themselves.

These instances also set a horrid example for youngsters who then start preferring money over quality and hard work. If PCB cannot provide a secure future for their cricketers and give respect to them, they should not expect loyalty from them either. They should then wait for more Amir’s, Asif’s and Butt’s because they deserve them, we deserve them.

Abbas Mushtaq

Abbas Mushtaq

The author is a freelance journalist and founder of jazbablog.com (@jazbablog) He tweets as @abbasmushtaq

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