Zaka Ashraf: From farmer to PCB chairman

Published: October 12, 2011
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Zaka is President of Zarai Taraqiyati Bank and decision of his appointment was made in meeting with President Zardari. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The much awaited, controversial and politically influenced post of Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board has finally been filled. Ladies and gentleman, put your hands together for Mr Zaka Ashraf, a man who has had absolutely nothing to do with cricket!

Nice job Mr President – out of the multiple candidates presented to you, you have successfully chosen the worst one.

Having said so, lets look back on Butt’s tenure as the chairman of the PCB to gauge whether Pakistani cricket can, indeed, fall lower than it already has.

The damage done

Ijaz Butt has faced a great amount of criticism based on his decision making and his leadership. Tme and time again he has been incapable of controlling cricketing affairs. An apt example of this would be the disastrous and shameful attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009. Moreover, the biggest mishap in the history of Pakistan cricket occurred during his tenure -the spot fixing scandal in 2010 in England has brought a tremendous amount of shame to our country. In addition to this six captains were changed, numerous selectors were tried and coaches and managers struggled to find consistency in their service all under the watchful eye of Ijaz Butt. Yes, Pakistan did win the T20 World Cup and they did reach the semi finals of the World Cup during his reign.

Now, in steps Zaka Ashraf and one is left wondering whether we were better off under Ijaz Butt.

The new man

It has been proven that being the friend of a president is always lucrative. Zaka Ashraf is a living, breathing example.

Moving from managing family farms and sugar mills to becoming the chairman of an agricultural bank ZTBL definitely makes sense. However, when one moves from farming to sports, something doesn’t seem quite right.

Zaka Ashraf has never been part of the cricketing world. Thus the announcement of him, of all people, becoming chairman of the PCB is horrifying news to professionals and everyone associated with the cricket. Ijaz Butt, in this case, was a better candidate as he at least played 8 cricket matches. Zaka, on the other hand, does not even meet this meager standard of experience – he has no reason to be the chairman of PCB. Granted, Mr Ashraf has been a great businessman and has handled his business affairs with grace.

However, is this a reason enough to make him Chairman of the PCB?

Left behind again

Zaheer Abbas should have been the logical choice. He has plenty of experience given that he has played 78 Test matches, 62 ODIs, 459 first class, and 323 List A matches. Moreover, he even showed interest in the post. However, he lacked the most important qualification – connections.

I believe that Zaka Ashraf could have hardly watched a cricket match with the keen interest of someone with 42 years of experience.

However, when appointed Ashraf stated:

“I’ll work day and night to live up to the president’s expectations and pay back the confidence he’s placed in me.”

He also added that he would select players on merit and try to improve relations with international boards. With these words, let us indeed hope that he can lift Pakistani cricket out of the ashes of humiliation; let us hope that Pakistani cricket does not ever witness a tenure worse than Ijaz Butt’s.

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raja.yousuf

Raja Yousuf

An MBA graduate and a cricket Fanatic

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