Friday June 21, 2024

Heading in the wrong direction

By Omair Alavi
October 27, 2019

Cricket is the most followed sport in Pakistan but it seems that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is yet to realise that. They have been making unilateral decisions without considering the repercussions their actions would have. From sacking one of the most successful T20 captains to selecting a 37-year-old bowler who refused to bowl during an international match, PCB has done more wrong than right. What’s worse is that they believe that most of the steps taken by them will take Pakistan in the right direction.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s unceremonious sacking

Nowhere in the civilised world does a cricket board banish its captain in all three formats from international cricket like the Pakistan Cricket Board recently did with Sarfraz Ahmed. If he was such a bad cricketer, why was he in the team, let alone leading it and winning matches? If he was not performing internationally, then why were those who had worse performances retained in the side? If he has been sent back to find form so that he can make a comeback strongly, why wasn’t the same formula applied to others whose form seems to be in another dimension? Yes, Sarfraz called for a sacking because of his poor performance in Tests and ODIs but he was winning matches in T20 cricket, he earned his place in the shortest format of the game and even though he might end up in the Fawad Alam category (no chance for a comeback), he deserved a chance to improve his performance.

Misbah-ul-Haq – Pakistan cricket’s Gemini man

As coach Misbah, he deduced that the main problem with the national team was Sarfraz Ahmed and his concerns were seconded by chief selector Misbah. He took no time in announcing the Test and T20 squad captains with inexperienced Babar Azam as leader of the T20 side and the reinstated Azhar Ali as Test captain. Instead of keeping Sarfraz Ahmed for the Test squad, considering he has experience of playing against and in Australia, he sent him home.

The selection of injury-prone Mohammad Irfan at 37 for T20s raised many eyebrows as did the unusual team combination. Youngsters might have been selected for their domestic performances without realising that the team will have no left-arm pacer in Tests (except the still recovering and inexperienced Shaheen Shah Afridi), considering a few days back Pakistan was laced with left-arm pacers and rarely a right-arm quickie got selected.

The new domestic structure and its


PCB’s decision to do away with the tried and tested domestic structure and to introduce their own has resulted in many talented players’ losing their steady income. Many cricketers who represented Pakistan at various levels found themselves unemployed as regional cricket and departmental cricket was replaced by association cricket. How players from 16 regions would fit themselves in six associations is a method only understood by the PCB. I usually don’t agree with former Test cricketer Tanvir Ahmed but whatever he is saying in his viral video is correct; talented players are trying to land odd jobs to feed their kids and run their kitchen. The transition could have taken place slowly and over a period of time so that the Board could have found an alternative career for them, but things move fast at PCB when they want them to. Otherwise, we move at snail’s pace!

Revoking the NOC for T10 League

Just want to know what the PCB management was thinking when they decided to revoke the conditional No Objection Certificates (NOCs) ahead of the Abu Dhabi T10 league, a month before the tournament. Didn’t they know beforehand that the tournament will clash with the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy? Are they aware that many players in Pakistan are quitting Test cricket because they want to feature in such tournaments to safeguard their future as well as extend their remaining careers? Maybe the management is still living in the 1990s when they ruined many cricketers’ careers by making them choose country over county, without realising that county cricket would make them better cricketers. Many senior players feigned injuries while on international tours to pursue their county careers, just because the Board was unable to understand their concerns. It is time PCB entered this millennium because if they continued to run the game the way they have been, they might end up in the past when other teams are moving into the future.