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April 11, 2016

PCB revamp: Fact or fiction


April 11, 2016

Pakistan’s below-par performance in the Asia Cup and the World T20 does not mean heralding a change in the Pakistan Cricket Board. One should see the facts.

T20 cricket is highly unpredictable and despite putting a good combination, the top players did not perform well. After all, top teams like South Africa, India and Australia also did not perform well and a side like West Indies won the title in Kolkata.

Our selectors tried their best and picked the best lot but the players did not excel in the World T20 and Asia Cup because of their inability to sustain pressure.

Credit goes to West Indies players who performed at the world stage despite their shortcomings and what Darren Sammy mentioned in his post-match comments.

The PCB is now holding the Pentangular Cup of 50-overs-a-side in a way to boost quality of cricket. The results of such endeavours will be seen in three to five years.

No doubt, Pakistan lag behind both in one-day and T20 cricket, but their performance in Test matches is far superior with an ICC ranking of No 4.

Our lads lag in T20Is and ODIs because of fitness problems, awareness of such high octane games and adopting new trends in cricket.

Our coaching staff, selectors and other associates put in their best for the national cause. They, however, failed for multiple reasons and the PCB is now focused on finding out the reasons and will do remedial work in future with honesty of purpose.

Captain Shahid Afridi committed some glaring mistakes which cost us dearly, though he tried his best to steer the ship. He admitted that his personal performance both as all-rounder and captain did not match the expectations of the nation.

Recently there has been a spree of unsubstantial criticism on the board, its formation, top hierarchy, administration, domestic cricket and the national academy. Such criticism is far from reality as facts speak differently.

The arguments put forward for a change at the PCB do not match the ground realities.

The PCB’s top management has been engaged in reversing the decline with a careful, well-thought out approach.

The present set-up came into being after a long drawn legal battle with new PCB Constitutional framework devised by two honourable former judges of the Supreme Court after getting input from stakeholders.

People must not forget that the same legal instrument was finally okayed by a two-member bench of the apex court, comprising

Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali (now Chief Justice of Pakistan) and Justice Saqib Nasir (now one of the senior most judges of the apex court).

The reins of the PCB were given to elected representatives drawn from the regions as well as departments. They elected a chairman through exercise of their free will.

Cricket administration or board of governors is not run by cricketers anywhere in the world. It is the administrators — elected ones — who govern the game.

Moreover, any attempt by the government to directly intervene in affairs of the PCB will run the risk of challenge in the courts and incur wrath of the International Cricket Council which may expel the PCB like it did last year when the Sri Lankan government intervened in affairs of the SLC.

Cricketers are assigned the tasks of coaching, selecting and matters which are supposed to be done by them. That is the best practice.

There is hardly any nominated former cricketer on the ICC Board and in almost all the Test playing nations there are dexterous administrators who are running the show.

Organising Pakistan Super League, adopting a model of qualitative first-class cricket, improving the PCB’s financial health, lining up tours for junior and senior teams and emphasising academy programmes are steps in the right direction. Moreover, a new policy to inject private sector to sponsor regions will swiftly boost quality of cricket and players will start getting hefty money.

People like Shaharyar M Khan, Najam Sethi, Subhan Ahmed and their team are the best to steer this ship out of troubled waters.

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