Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Taking Over Cricket in Pakistan

Since Nasim Ashraf was a personal adviser and friend of Pervez Musharraf, it was only apt that he resigned as the PCB chairman hours after the Pakistan president resigned from his post.

Either way, he wouldn't have stayed long post Musharraf considering the mess he had put Pakistan cricket in over the last 2 years.

The Pakistan president is the defacto Patron of the PCB according to the constitution, which now makes Asif Zardari just that. That man as the head of anything is just laughable but thats a point for another debate.

Zardari has now been patron of the PCB for a month but he has not been able to appoint a PCB Chairman yet.

No one really knows why but I believe that at the moment there are way too many people lobbying for the post and I guess Zardari is waiting for the best 10% offer to be made to him.

In the meantime, as Zardari made calculations on his "cut", the Federal Sports Ministry decided to take over the PCB. Since there's no chairman, as per the constitution the Sports Ministry becomes responsible for the board's operations.

If this remains, cricket will be treated like hockey and football is in Pakistan and that is not good news.

If you thought that was bad news, worse was to follow when we heard that Najamuddin Khan, Pakistan's Sports Minister, had sent his name to the ICC as the PCB Chairman to attend the ICC moot in Dubai later this month.

Since the PCB comes under the Sports Ministry, the Sports Minister became the defacto PCB Chairman.

But why?

The chairman of the hockey and football boards were elected by the Sports Minister. So why didn't Najamuddin elect a chairman for the PCB? Why did he decide to become chairman himself?

We all know the answer to that.

The PCB after all is one of the richest institutions in Pakistan, let alone being the richest sports body in the country.

But that's not it. The power struggle for the top PCB post was just starting.

Farooq Naek, the Federal Law Minister of Pakistan and a member of Zardari's ruling political party, is currently reviewing the constitution of the PCB in order to remove its "flaws".

Naek has been assigned to do so by Zardari, who will not name a chairman till this review is over.

This review has been on-going for a few weeks now, however what took place yesterday is what created ripples in the cricketing circles around Pakistan.

Farooq Naek held a meeting with 5 key cricketing figures of Pakistan - Wasim Akram, Inzamam Ul Haq, Rameez Raja, Saeed Anwar, and Mushtaq Ahmed.

According to Naek, he met them in order to get their views on the PCB constitution and how they think it can be improved.

But, there's much more to it than just that.

Why did Naek meet these specific people?

Wouldn't Imran Khan have been the most appropriate person to meet for this purpose?

Members of the PCB and the Sports Ministry are part of the 15-man committee currently reviewing the PCB constitution. Where were they?

Did Naek deliberately keep them out?

This has upset Najamuddin, the acting chairman of the PCB, and he now thinks that Naek is trying to take control of the PCB.

This power struggle is going to kill cricket in Pakistan I tell you! This needs to stop!

Anyhow, coming back to Naek's meeting with Wasim, Inzamam, Rameez, Saeed, and Mushtaq.

Among a number of things suggested to Naek, the one thing that caught my interest was the suggestion to form a Cricket Committee.

These are the suggestions that were made by the 5 regarding the Cricket Committee.

1. Form a 5-member Cricket Committee
2. Committee to have final say on all decisions
3. Independent committee not reporting to CEO or Chairman
4. Members must have experience of over 50 test matches

Thus, in effect, what this means is that the committee can over rule any decision made by the selectors, CEO, or the Chairman. It gives the 5 committee members autonomous power in running Pakistan's cricket.

Good or bad?

Its a great idea to have former experienced test players running cricket in Pakistan.

Plus its happening successfully in India I believe with the likes of Gavaskar and Shastri sitting on a similar committee.

But full autonomy just doesn't sound right. Not in Pakistan.

What is bothering me right now is the fact that it seemed like Wasim, Inzamam, Rameez, Saeed, and Mushtaq were lobbying for themselves. Pushing their own personal agenda rather than thinking about cricket in Pakistan.

All 5 have played more than 50 test matches for Pakistan thus making themselves the ideal candidates for the committee.

There are only 25 Pakistani cricketers who have played more than 50 tests and 3 of them are current players - Yousuf, Younis, and Kaneria.

That leaves 22, which includes the likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Sarfraz Nawaz, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Bari, Majid Khan, Hanif Mohammad, Mudassar Nazar, Abdul Qadir, Iqbal Qasim, Mushtaq Mohammad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Raja, Saleem Malik, Ijaz Ahmed, and Moin Khan.

Different reasons such as association with the ICC, ICL, match fixing, academies, political parties, coaching, coupled with bad relationships with the PCB easily rules all these 16 out of a seat in the Cricket Committee.

The remaining 6 possible members are the above 5 who met Naek along with another former captain, Waqar Younis.

One report in fact even mentions that Waqar met Naek, however he wasn't there as per my understanding.

The fact that Rameez Raja has been lobbying for the post of PCB Chairman, it could be that the 5-member committee suggested was Wasim, Waqar, Inzamam, Saeed, and Mushtaq.

So are these the men that can get Pakistan cricket out of trouble?

Are these the right men to run cricket in Pakistan?

They may be better than most and better than the politically appointed bureaucrats but their involvement with Pakistan cricket can only spell trouble.

Wasim Akram has forever been haunted by the match fixing ghost. Justice Qayyum's report, which the PCB swears by, has clearly stated that Wasim not be given any post of authority within cricket. So how will the PCB justify his inclusion in a Cricket Committee with all powers?

Inzamam-Ul-Haq captained Pakistan from 2003-2007 and when he was in control, Pakistan cricket went from bad to worse. Great batsman no doubt, but he in a leadership position within Pakistan cricket, would be disastrous. Moreover his involvement with the ICL will also be a problem. How will the PCB justify an ICL player being a part of their board set up?

Rameez Raja served as CEO of the PCB under 2 different Chairmen, and he couldn't do anything to improve the state of cricket in Pakistan. At the end he chose his media career over his PCB one, which just shows how committed he really is to the cause of Pakistan cricket.

Saeed Anwar has been uninvolved with cricket for over 5 years now. He has not been in touch with the game and spends almost all of his time giving and attending religious sermons. He admitted that religious activities came between his cricket, so there's no reason why they wouldn't come in between now.

Mushtaq Ahmed was also implicated in the same Justice Qayyum report. In addition his association with the ICL as well as talk of him working with the ECB / England as a spin coach will not allow him to devote much time to Pakistan cricket.

Waqar Younis is probably the least tainted one out of the lot but his relationship with Wasim, Inzamam, and Mushtaq is questionable. His feud with Wasim is well documented while his removal as bowling coach in favour of Mushtaq when Inzamam was captain left him hurt.

All these reasons are why I think these 5 will never make up the Cricket Committee. Or even if they did, the world would have a problem with them because of their history.

All of them, except Rameez, were involved in the match fixing scandal and implicated by Justice Qayyum. Two of them are involved with the rebellious ICL. One of them has been out of cricket for 5 years. One was accused of being a dictator, while another was termed unpatriotic for helping Indian bowlers. Three of them have been blamed for emphasizing on religion rather than cricket. And two of them have been blamed for keeping new talent from coming up. And all of them have been involved in the player power struggle.

On the flip side, Pakistan may not have a better choice than them.

So would you give Pakistan cricket in their hands?

Imran Khan did and that too with a lot of faith. They were part of arguably the best XI Pakistan ever had.

So are they the saviours of Pakistan cricket?

Think about it.

Make your pitch on this post...

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8 Pitched:

  1. Wasim said...


    Ijaz Butt has been nominated as the chairman of PCB the notification was issued today.

  2. Wasim said...


    I think PCB should have appointed a technocrat like Ehsan Mani who has established contacts with other boards and ICC as PCB chairman, I like the Idea of establishing a committee for cricket affairs, I know some of the cricketers have tainted reputations but I guess we have no other option, Since Mr Ejaz Butt has been announced as the Chairman I wouldn't be too surprised to see Aamir Sohail getting a key post in near future both of them have strong connections.

  3. khansahab said...


    Shaharyar Khan was the best option for PCB Chairman. He was a very capable and selfless man from an honourable family. But we all know what happened with him.

    The most honest and sincere people are also those who get fed up of the politics, regionalism, player power and corruption culture in the PCB. Ramiz Raja was one such person.

  4. khansahab said...

    I told you it will be Karachi vs Sialkot in the finals :)

    And I guess Sialkot will win now because they have a good record of winning finals. I remember the 2006 ABN AMRO Cup when the same teams played the final and Sialkot won comfortably despite Fawad Alam's heroics (he was so good that Sialkot players gave him a standing ovation when he was dismissed)

  5. nestaquin said...

    Illuminating and interesting article. I read it three times so I could digest it all.

    One question? Why is Pakistan cricket run by the government?

    In Australia, officials are elected democratically through cricket clubs and associations.

    There are three levels; local, state and national and Cricket Australia, a privately run quasi-socialist corporation oversees it all.

    God forbid if the Australian Government had a say in cricket. They'd wreck it with their greedy power games and politics within a generation!

    Good luck my Pakistani friends and although I know little of the machinations I do know that on reputation Imran Khan is, with Sir Garfield Sobers, one of the most respected men in world cricket.

  6. Q said...

    Wasim - I heard about Ijaz Butt. We had heard he would be taking over as soon as Nasim Ashraf resigned. Im not too sure what took so long.

    Though now I think this is a hasty arrangement just to ensure that Najamuddin does not travel to Dubai and embarass Pakistan at the ICC moot.

    Im not too sure how good Ijaz Butt will be for Pakistan cricket but now Im thinking his cricket committee might be a good idea. Without the full autonomy though.

    I see ur point regarding a technocrat but we also need someone with some sense of cricket. Ehsan Mani is a good candidate but I dont think he was interested. He's based in London and i doubt he wants to come back to Pakistan.

    Aamir Sohail needs to be kept as far away from the board as possible!

  7. Q said...

    Khan Sahab - I dont think Shaharyar Khan was the best option. He's a good bureaucrat, but he didn't do much for cricket.

    We need cricketers running the show.

    U predicted right about the RBS 20-20 final. But I think the Dolphins will win - thye r much stronger than the stallions.

  8. Q said...

    Hi Nesta. Good to see u back here.

    I'll try and answer ur question the best way i can.

    The Government in Pakistan does not run cricket in the country. The only involvement the Govt has is that the President of the country is also the Patron of the cricket board.

    That is in the constitution I believe.

    The Patron appoints the Chairman and all operating activities fall under the Chairman and his office.

    So while this Govt link is there, it is not involved int he day to day running of activities. But what does happen though is that the Chairman ends up being a political appointee.

    Whats happening now is that since there was no Chairman till today, there were a number of lobbies in Pakistan trying to take control of the PCB.

    The new president of Pakistan came into power a month ago. He failed to appoint a chairman for reasons explained in the post. Since there was no Chairman the sports ministry took control and the power struggle started.

    I know its different in Australia. Even in India its different. I dont know the real reason as to why the appointing of a chairman is the job of the country's president and why its not a democratic process with associations involved.

    The thing is that in Pakistan, cricket is not just a sport. Its a passion. Everyone wants to be involved.

    On top of that theres a lot of money to be made through cricket.

    With the greedy politicians at the helm, they all want their share of the pie.

    Its a sad never ending story.

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