Love of cricket or of power?

February 16, 2014

Love of cricket or of power?

I have been listening for many years Andy William crooning "Where Do I Begin?" Little did I know that I would be humming the song again as I look at that white blank screen. Unfortunately it doesn’t derive it origins from Love Story; in fact quite the opposite, even though the ending is equally devastating.

". . . to tell the story of. . ." continues Williams and finishes the stanza with "Where do I start?"

So the thought came to me to just pencil in the lines of the song for a more appropriate overview of Pak cricket over the last few years.

It was quashed by the fact that you need a hard rock song from that crazy face-painted group of the 1970s called KISS, where the lead guitarist would bash up his guitar at the end of a concert now and then.

Since the lyrics would not be appropriate for publishing though very appropriate for whoever is managing our cricket, I thought to just stick with the norm and to keep tapping away at the keyboard while drawing inspiration by simultaneously banging my head against the wall.

I mean, the scenarios of the players’ revolt of the 70’s and every decade since then, the takeover of PCB on ad-hoc basis by the generals and the doctors and the Foreign Office retirees and a banker thrown in. Not surprisingly the result is a messed up pregnancy and every possibility of a premature death rather than a premature birth.

We are seeing grown up men with a certain level of respect squabbling like gang leaders, taking over, retreating and taking over the neighbourhood again.

We are seeing this in the most visible of all government institutions, not just nationally but globally. That each visiting chairman comes out publically during his transit period with his version of the law and "principled" stand and rights is absolutely astonishing. Are these guys totally devoid of self respect? They are playing the role of feel good vultures picking at the rotting carcass of cricket. And they don’t care. All they want is power: the power to rule, the power to change and the power for personal gain.

Cricket is not your personal toy or property that you beat up the other guy to get in claiming it to be yours in the first place. This is not a tag team event where you jump into the ring swinging wildly in the air and pulling your punches like extras filming a fighting scene.

This childish, immature, thick skinned quarrel was bad enough with shuttle service at the top.  But now it seems the vendetta has reached the stage where the other fellow’s people are being picked on. It happens everywhere -- in setting up a cabinet, in bureaucracy or in a private company, but there’s a way to it. There’s a process. There are proper, courteous and decent ways to go about doing things.

I agree it was Zaka who started the fight by firing the legal adviser (whom he once used to defend his election) because he did his job in presenting facts to the court, and ending the role of Moin Khan as the manager. But nobody would have minded bringing them back, for at least Moin Khan was always the right choice to be involved at any level.

The sending home of Aamir Sohail, Basit Ali and Mohammad Ilyas due to inconsistencies and lack of procedures adopted in their appointment makes it look childish and confirms that this is a Moghul court fight rather than the legal courts’.

Aamir is a good man with lots of ideas and enthusiasm; Basit is probably the most street-smart cricket brain we have produced after Javed Miandad. Just because they were appointed by the previous chairman doesn’t mean you fire them for that. Why repeat the mistakes of the previous chairman, even though in the case of Moin Khan, ex-current-ex-chairman Zaka simply did not extend his role?

Zaka hadn’t fired Moin when the former Pakistan captain was manager of the Pakistan team during the third Test. Though I say again letting him go was a terrible decision, particularly after he had motivated the team to win the third Test.

In the current case, you have fired the chief selector without appointing one in his place; moving someone like Azhar Khan in a temporary role is not an appointment. It exposes the malice behind the move.

Same was the case with Basit. The man could only have done well as regional coach or whatever of academies. Ilyas I agree is not qualified to be anything in the PCB let alone a selector, but again let him go over time if he doesn’t perform.

If no chairman has the guts to remove Zakir Khan from whatever position he was last appointed, why display false courage by picking on those who are helpless? I am not advocating one is good or bad but simply stating that what is good for the goose should be good for the flock. My point is proven when Zakir continues to be the team manager appointed a few days earlier, but since one’s own man has to be put in to show who’s boss, Zaheer Abbas has been given a novel cricket-consultant role. Maybe it’s a disguised role and glorified designation for batting coach, as in our culture a person of Zaheer Abbas’ stature would not have accepted working under Moin Khan, even though the former wicketkeeper batsman seems more qualified.

Unless the fellow wants money, which Zaheer doesn’t require, and will even work under the man whom he once supervised. This has often been the case in PCB.

I won’t say the same for Subhan Ahmed, because he is a non controversial figure who quietly goes about following orders; a nice guy who does his day’s work and goes home. He has worked himself up over the years and hasn’t worked at a level lower than that he holds at any one time.

But again, the manner of removing Aamir and Basit reeks of immaturity and disrespect for the positions at the top. If this was a unanimous committee decision as is stated, then the blame for the action in such a manner must be shared by people like Shaharyar Khan and other senior members. The truly unfortunate part is that there was no dissenting voice.

Love of cricket or of power?