Can Pakistani cricket save itself from disaster?
Unpredictable is the most suitable word for the Pakistan Cricket Board, team and individuals. Nobody knows when PCB will take a U-turn on one of its decisions, when the team conquers world’s best team and kneels down to the weakest side, when a top class cricketer announces his retirement and all of a sudden, gets a chance to play at highest level without any prior preparation.
In a proper system, the administration and players are both important and work within their domains to strengthen each other but they never interfere in each other’s domain. Both are answerable for their job and get rewarded and penalized according to their performance. But, here in Pakistan, the case is altogether different. Members of the cricket board influence teams and this affects performance. That is how the PCB hurts its own performance and image.
How did the PCB get here?
The reason for this whole mess is quite understandable. The story begins, continues and ends with individuals’ power and absence of transparent system. From Abdul Fazal Mahmood to Muhammad Amir, Pakistan has been blessed with the talented performers and match winner players. No one can deny that Imran Khan introduced the philosophy of “fight back” in modern cricket. Had Abdul Qadir not been performing exceptionally good in limited over games, the inclusion of spinners in one dayers and T20 would have still have been a dream. Doosra belongs to Saqlain and reverse swing enjoyed its glory from Waqar and Wasim’s hands. Such talented people can destroy any planning of the opponent, be it the cricket ground or the cricket board.
As captain Imran Khan, always exceeded his limits and insisted to play with the team. Instead of going to the ground for selection he made them with the team of the selection committee. In the past, Inzamam ul Haq, Waqar Younus, Wasim Akram and most recently Shahid Afridi expressed concerns over the selected players.
And unlike Cricket Australia, no one could warn them: “Mr. Captain, this is not your job. The task you are assigned, starts from the boundary rope and ends when you cross it. Let the right people do their job”
Following the wrong leader
This is not the end of the story; we have witnessed a number of revolutions against weak captains like Miandad, Wasim Akram, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. And now, it is the turn of a person who is not even part of the team – chairman cricket board, Ijaz Butt.
We have seen a few examples of punishing players but with no investigation and with one pen stroke, they were given a certificate to represent the country at the highest level. When convenient the player turned out to be “Mr Clean” within no time. None of the officials have ever been punished for poor performance and even if they were, the issues were never investigated.
Pakistan Cricket Board has its constitution which recommends elected professionals for every post but it is being run by the appointed people, the ones who are answerable to no one.
Accountability part is missing everywhere. PCB needs to introduce a system where players and officials of the board could be asked the reason for their poor performance and could be punished for any misconduct.
A failure to make thing better
It is true that PCB is not playing its role effectively. They are unable to handle issue at international level and they have failed to develop a system which could help bring out professional cricketers from the scratch.
The job description of the selection committee should not only be defined but should also be adhered. They should be forced to visit every Grade I and Grade II match and submit their report to chairman about their observations. The observations should not be based on score board, but on the decision making of the playing sides and their attempts to make efforts to win the game.
Level I, II and III coaches should be groomed according to their skills and should be sent to Australia and England for further certifications.
What needs to be done?
PCB needs to have back up of for every player and needs to design their job description. From Under 15 to the national team, they should be sent for workshops on media handling and how to be a role model for their fans, how to avoid controversies and how to be mindful about the people with negative background.
The Pakistan Cricket Board needs to understand the changes that are happening all over the world and the role of the media. Pakistani and international media has been more influential than in the past. If anyone disobeys the code of conduct, they must be penalized by the board and no one should be allowed to go against that, even if it hurts their career. In the long run, this will help the system.
In a nutshell, if PCB really wants to avoid the expected disaster, it has to work on two things, one, its system by meting out rewards and punishments. Two, grooming the individuals to handle international media. This practice can develop PCB as a role model for rest of the world.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.