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Friday, January 28, 2011

PCB’s flair for controversies

How disgusting it is that Pakistan cricket has not advanced an inch since Ijaz Butt took over the reigns of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). A cursory glance over the cricket affairs will reveal that the reasons are not other than the PCB’s flair for conflicts and controversies. Rather than devising the ways and means to promote the game and raise its standards high enough to browbeat opponents in international contests the PCB chairman has turned himself into ‘Hitler’ of Pakistan cricket and rules the game un-challenged. In the process, he has formed a lobby by patronising cronyism, likes and dislikes, sacking officials who disapproves his acts and deeds and forming a regime that functions in accordance with his whims and fancies.

Although his policies have come under a storm of criticism both from the media as well as the cricket fraternity, he continues to maintain his ruling style under the protection of the country’s top brass. All this has brought unprecedented damage and disgrace to Pakistan’s cricket. Had the PCB enforced strict discipline in the board, worked on character building of the players and taught them the vital norms and ethics of the game, the embarrassment caused by the trio of Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamir could perhaps be averted. The sordid episode was projected to such proportions that the International Cricket Council (ICC) got the golden opportunity of rendering the PCB subservient to the extent of even selecting the national teams with its approval.

After a short span of relative peace and tranquility Ijaz’s inherent instinct of ‘creating controversies’ has propped up again. It is the undesirable issue of captaincy for the World Cup 2011. Out of all the countries participating in the mega event Pakistan is the only one having announced the team without naming a captain. It is not too far back that the PCB appointed Misbahul Haq as Test captain and Shahid Afridi as ODI and T20 captain. Now when Pakistan are in the midst of New Zealand’s tour and the World Cup staring in the face, Ijaz has suddenly lost faith in Afridi and created the captaincy crisis for the World Cup. As chairman of the PCB he did not realise that the issue would not only generate a big controversy but also put two senior players Afridi and Misbah against each other in an awfully bad taste.

Ijaz should have realized that the performances of Pakistan – ‘an odd victory in each series’ – during the recent past were absolutely commensurate with their present standard of the game. It was almost even in the Test matches and the limited over games. Apart from captaincy there are numerous other factors, mainly the contribution of each player, which affect the outcome of a match. Comparing one captain with the other is absolutely unwise. Ijaz must realize that the confusion that he has created by raising such an issue can cause disunity in the team as well as can be instrumental in lowering the players’ morale and fighting spirit. The issue caused a stir even among the team officials. Coach Waqar Younis was the most prominent among the lot of people to express his surprise over the PCB’s decision. Obviously to save his appointment Waqar regretted his comments on the issue.

Under the present circumstances Afridi’s captaincy depends on the result of the 6-ODI series in which the team are engaged. I think a captain is helpless when every batsman throws away his wicket. Since accusing the skipper for every defeat has become a tradition, the luminaries like Abdul Qadir and Aamir Sohail have criticised Afridi for the same providing strength to Ijaz’s scheme of replacing Afridi with Misbah as captain of the World Cup squad.

The self created controversy gave a golden chance to Ijaz for undertaking a secret visit to New Zealand. He has left for Wellington ‘ to sort out the captaincy issue that is threatening to hamper the team’s World Cup hopes’. He wanted to have a meeting with the key players and the team officials before taking the final decision, a job that could have been easily performed by telephone. 
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