Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting tired of the knee-jerk reaction

I'm no fan of PCB, I think that's pretty clear. But, I'm also not a fan of this knee-jerk reaction by former cricketers to slam PCB at every opportunity. It seems to be as entrenched a tradition as any in Pakistan.

Today, I read an article on Cricinfo about former crickters attacking PCB for the defeats in Sri Lanka. Here are some of the comments:

Former captain Aamer Sohail said the decision to experiment with makeshift openers was baffling.

"No one, from the board officials to the team management, seems to have a clear plan in mind," Sohail told AFP. "Some of the decisions make no sense, like two regular openers were sent to Sri Lanka but we used makeshift openers in the series which we have lost now."


Another former captain, Zaheer Abbas, said the blame lay with the PCB. "The World Twenty20 win had hid all the weaknesses in the team and the cricket board," he said. "Since this board has taken over we have lost the Champions Trophy (hosting rights), we have been stripped of World Cup 2011 matches and we have failed to handle the team, so this is total mismanagement, which is unacceptable.

"The coach (Intikhab Alam) must go, and the captain (Younis Khan) also lacks the qualities of a good leader."

Former chief selector Abdul Qadir was unhappy with the nature of the defeats. "They should feel ashamed," he said. "Defeats are part and parcel of the game, but shameful defeats are unacceptable."

To Aamir: ok, you have a point. But Pakistan has had an opener problem ever since you and Saeed Anwar left. At least you should know that. They couldn't persist with Butt. And there are some contenders so they have to try them out at some point, and given the dearth of international cricket for Pakistan, there are only so many opportunities they have.

To Zaheer Abbas: Wow. Yes, losing the Champions Trophy and WC 2011 hosting rights was totally PCB's fault. Newsflash - Pakistan has been virtually under siege by terrorists for the last few years. A former PM, the Sri Lankan cricket team, and a major hotel in the capital are among the more well-known targets. But of course, this is all PCB's fault. I mean, if Ijaz Butt could just grab an assault rifle and some army fatigues and take care of the terrorists, we'd have been able to host both tournaments. Simple as that! And as for Intikhab Alam - he's the only Pakistan manager/coach who has won us World Championships, so you may want to rethink that. Re: Younis Khan, ok, you may have a point. But substantiate it - give examples.

To Qadir: Hmmm, are you still kicking yourself in the balls for relinquishing your selection duties a bit too early, so that you are made a laughing stock when Pakistan won the T20 WC??? Sounds to me like that. Has it occurred to you that Pakistan are playing a much superior team, and are just outclassed? And that playing their first Test series in so long may have had something to do with it.

Rashid Latif seemed to be a voice of reason:

Former wicketkeeper Rashid Latif, however, ruled out changes in management and said the fault lay with the players. "Changes are not the solution," Latif said. "I think the team needs to go back to basics and there should be no interference in team planning. The team must play to its own plan."

Here's the simple truth - Pakistan is not a good ODI or Test team at this point. They are ok in T20 and were able to put together some remarkable performances to win the WC. But in the longer forms of the game, they are rusty and the players lack the temperament. This is something that will hopefully change once they play more international cricket; to expect them to immediately perform great in all arenas is unfair.

I think the pool of players is pretty good (even if the final selection/order can be tinkered around with). And Management is doing a decent job by getting Pakistan lots of international cricket after somewhat of an exile. But the lure of T20 and a weak domestic structure is changing cricketers' habits, and that especially impacts Pakistani cricketers who are almost genetically inclined to play T20 style in all forms of the game.

Is there justifiable criticism to be made against the PCB? Yes, always. But is this knee-jerk shouting and screaming by ex-cricketers for heads to roll justified after every single loss, especially this series? I don't think so. If there is criticism, put some reasons out there, and offer some solutions. I'm a huge fan of ex-cricketers like Zaheer and Qadir (and even Aamir to some degree! :), and mean no disrespect to them, but I think that they have all had their chances to make changes in PCB and the cricketing setup, but they enjoy being armchair administrators instead.

Oh, and if you thought the mental image of Ijaz Butt with a gun was too much too handle, well here's something to make that image permanent!

Make your pitch on this post...

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9 Pitched:

  1. Sam said...

    get rid of Butt. Get rid of selfish players. Past is behind them. When India could dump Dravid and Ganguly -- its 2 of the best players from ODIs then why cant Pak drop Misbah, MoYo from ODIs ?

    Match fixing allegations are disgusting. but then why are u tired. it has been always the ccase in Pakistan right ?

  2. Wasim said...


    It's a very balanced and honest opinion.

    I don't think the management had much of a role here, the selectors made a few blunders in the the selection of the test team but the ultimate responsibility lies with the senior players and the captain.

    I am also not supportive of any knee jerk reactions, in my opinion Pakistan should try and establish its opening pair for all three formats and they should stop this system of musical chair.

    Yousaf should not be dropped at any cost he should be allowed to get back in form.

    I think PCB should hire Wasim or Waqar to polish the skills of some of our pace bowlers only then we can do better in test matches.

    Although the bowlers performed better but still the way pitches were assisting fast bowlers their performance could have been better.

    But I do believe some players did not made any effort to play upto to their potential they should get punished.

  3. SledgeHammer said...

    @Sam: are you implying that match-fixing has always been the case with Pakistan? Surely you realize that it's not a Pakistan-only phenomenon.

    As of last count, more Indians have been banned for match-fixing than Pakistanis. It's a cricket-wide phenomenon, and India has been heavily involved.

    If I misunderstood your point, please let me know.

    As for getting rid of Butt and selfish players, I don't see how Butt's removal is going to change anything at this point. The pool of players is not bad - there's a mix of young and old. Selection has not been too bad. Pakistan finally has matches on the calendar.

    Players' performance is an issue. They are not motivated in Tests and ODIs. Only T20 seems to work for them, and that's a dangerous path.

    I say make Afridi the ODI captain as well. And keep Younis as the Test captain.

  4. SledgeHammer said...

    @wasim: I agree with you. At this point it's the players who need to be dealt with, not the management.

  5. Q said...

    Perfectly said Sledge!

    I couldn't have said it better myself and u have echoed my sentiments.

    I hate it when these former players come out with stories of factions and bad management and what not. They r the first to jump up and criticize.

    I completely agree with you when you say that Pakistan is not a good ODI team or test team currently.. if you take a look at the int'l cricket they have played in the last 18 months it has only been against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka.. they have not played against the top sides so for them to get back into competitive groove against better nations in ODIs and Tests will take some time.

    That is something that majority of the fans and former players don't seem to have.


    For me Pakistan is doing well for how much or rather how less that have played in recent times.

  6. Q said...

    and Awesome pic!!

  7. Som said...

    Former players are often frustrated when they are not part of the establishment and every now and then they keep coming with this complaint or other.
    In Pakistan's case, sadly the former players have done hardly anything to contribute to the team's future.

  8. Wasim said...

    Unfortunately our former players have turned into a pressure group they use media to criticize management just to get a piece of the pie.

    Ramiz, Aamir, Zaheer, Sarfraz, Miandad and several others they all got opportunities to make a few changes in different capacities when they were working for PCB but nothing changed except their bank accounts.

    I think these ex-players are responsible for all the confusion.

    There is nothing wrong with the selection for Odi's only YK needs to motivate his players and play the right combination.

  9. Rayden said...

    I had commented on one of Q's posts some time back on how the former players just keep talking nonsense. Also they get paid a lot by the media so they think they need to talk some rubbish to show what experts they are. Like Q had mentioned - they just do it to make themselves feel important. Happens in India all the time and I can see Pak ex-players are doing the same. I personally am completely tired of these guys.

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