Politics November 1, 2006

A call for stability and some leadership

In the wake of the Champions Trophy debacle, Pakistan cricket is besieged with cries for change
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In the wake of the Champions Trophy debacle, Pakistan cricket is besieged with cries for change. Yes, change is essential but a knee-jerk reaction will further harm Pakistan's chances of winning the World Cup. There are calls for wholesale changes in the team, as well as calls from the head of the Karachi City Cricket Association for the sacking of Bob Woolmer. Rashid Latif has bizarrely blamed the failure of the Asian teams on the presence of foreign coaches.

The sense of crisis has been deepened by Nasim Ashraf calling for a seminar of senior cricketers to help turn round Pakistan's fortunes. As many readers of this blog will know, seminars of the kind proposed by the PCB are seldom any good for producing solutions or new ideas. The gathering of a gang of squabbling ex-cricketers, each believing he has a monopoly on the truth, sounds to me like an exercise in stakeholder management rather than a genuine way forward. Indeed, the solutions are pretty obvious and should reside within the heads of the team captain and coach. And, lest we forget, Pakistan's World Cup prospects were shining bright after the first three one-day internationals in England.

To my mind, it is too late to start talking of changing the coach and captain, it will be suicidally late after the West Indies series. Pakistan's best chance is to stick with the leadership combination that had lifted it to the top three in both forms of the game. One nuance might have been to appoint Younis Khan as one-day captain, indeed it is something I advocated, but after some wonky decisions before and during the one-day series coupled with a drop in form, it has to be best for Ashraf to sit down with Bob and Inzy and say: "You're the men for this important mission. You have my confidence. Tell me your plan and let's implement it." Younis's time will come.

Great leadership is all about appointing people with skill and trusting them to deliver for you. It isn't about undermininig their authority by running a pointless national roadshow on how those guys might do their jobs better, which is what it will inevitably turn out to be.

The PCB only has to read the views of fans to know what the solutions are, and they are not very different from the ones people like Imran Khan have been peddling for years. A competitive, regional domestic game. A properly functioning national academy (not one that is closed down almost before it has started). A professional, independent cricket board. And a mindset that says let's dump dead tracks and let's prepare some that are full of life and bounce. If they can be produced in Mohali there can be no excuse in Lahore.

And perhaps a novel idea: Let's put some faith in the ideas of the experts we have hired. Why not act on Bob Woolmer's calls for concrete pitches to prepare our batsmen against bouncy tracks? Why not act on proposals that the PCB has received for long term planning and development of Pakistan cricket? Why not support our players, captain, and coach in public (whatever the private reservations) rather than spreading silly stories about their nocturnal activities, religious orthodoxy, and holidays? When this is how the world of Pakistan cricket works it makes me conclude that some of the influential people running it (and I suspect they are still in post) would rather act out their own petty prejudices than create something of beauty that would bring joy to millions.

For let's be clear, the failure of Mohali, and Old trafford, and Perth, is not the failure of a player, captain, or coach. It is the failure of a whole system--and one that has always got away with it because of the talents of those players, captains, and coaches who have served it over the years. If Nasim Ashraf really wants to make a mark, he should stop the nurturers and the servents of that failed system from getting away with it any more. It's clear that the people that really matter, the fans, will not tolerate it any more.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • saif on November 11, 2006, 6:49 GMT

    Hi, Please review the case of fast bowler asif on grounds of his innocence & if possible to decrease the ban on shoaib akhtar,so that he can return to cricket, after all he is gives lots of enjoyment to spectators. Also please do something on fastbowler shabbir ahmed.

  • Shariq Butt on November 4, 2006, 12:51 GMT

    Its not the matter of sacking foreign coaches but the thinking, attitude and arrogance which has developed in the Asian Teams.

    The tribunal verdict is disappointing,where is the President of Pakistan now??? who earlier had stopped Shoaib from giving any public reply.

    There looks to be deep consiparcy hatched against the two Pakistani fast bowlers....... Great News as I write Darrel Hair has been taken of from umpiring in the international fixtures

  • Aravind on November 4, 2006, 10:30 GMT

    Hi, Pakistan should revoke the decision on asif atleast.

  • Sawliha on November 3, 2006, 6:31 GMT

    I agree with you Mr.Abbasi. I think we will be in serious trouble if we sack Woolmer now. I think Mr.Ashraf is creating more problems than solving any. And it's mainly due to the fact that the President of Pakistan is a "patron" of the PCB, who unfortunately finds it necessary to butt in "non-political" issues such as cricket. I was disappointed in the tribunal's verdict. Has PCB paid any heed to the way Asif talks? That kid can barely speak proper Urdu. Do they really think he knows about the usage of banned substances if PCB fails to provide adequate information? The ban impose on Akhtar is understandable; he has been in cricket for almost 10 years and he should know better. I personally think we need to drop Afridi from the squad. He hasn't been "in form" in several years and it's about high time PCB gets rid of this "glam factor". As far as Younis Khan is concerned, I don't think he is ready for captaincy. The inconsistency he demonstrated during the Champions Trophy is a good indication of that.

  • saabizsah on November 2, 2006, 9:59 GMT

    well it is just an expression of subcontinent mentality (blaming the system), what about idividual responsibilities and application, remember javed miandad, imran khan , wasim akram,waqar younis - all these were not only talented but they knew how to apply themselves in any situation, which our current bunch of lads lack , just look at the way they play their shots, no thinking whatsoever. They need to learn their responsibilities(which batsmen seem to lack awareness of) and only then simulating pitches and conditions and---- is giong to help.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on November 2, 2006, 5:04 GMT

    I am in total agreement with you , Kamran. Mr. Nasim Ashraf should be making statements to support Inzi and Bob. However, he is found making several "confidence-breaking" comments. He first talked about reassessing Inzi's captaincy, then he says that the team needs to "balance religion and cricket", indirectly saying that Inzi forces players to pray. He should know that the whole cricketing world sense the positive impact of religion on this team. And after all that, he puts full responsibility of the Oval debacle on Inzi. I admired Mr. Shehryar for backing Inzi and Woolmer, as he did in the Oval fiasco. One just cant help feeling that something is going to break. I fear that Inzi and/or Woolmer may soon just leave, tired of all the controversies and pressure. Mr. Ashraf should rethink his strategy and approach, before he causes any more damage.

  • Pakfan on November 2, 2006, 3:54 GMT

    The issue is not an isolated incident. Consistency has been a non-existent quality of Pak teams always. As far as the always quoted and much praised " huge talent in Pakistan" I always wonder where does that talent exist. Given the standard of our domestic cricket, performances there certainly shouldn't count towards a potential international career. The point comes down to "raise the standard of cricket (and everything else) in Pakistan and you will have players capable of performing at par with Aussies or SA etc." But until then there is no way to tell whether we have the talent or not. Except for the seventies and eighties, our team is usually made up of 3 or 4 international caliber players and others with "great potential"--potentials that are never realized.Australian fast bowlers have had injury problems, too. But they can pick some unkown entity who will make a mark (examples: Rodney Hogg, Terry Alderman, Geoff Dymock, Gary Gilmore, Bob Massie etc. etc.). Only because their system allows them to test the player's true capabilities before making an international debut.So, You are right in advising the PCB to focus on improving the standards of domestic cricket and the wickets. However, I doubt that we truly have as much talent as we are made to believe. As far as the PCB set up is concerned, I believe it would be more realistic to suggest that we rename our beloved country as "Ad Hoc Republic of Pakistan" where ad hocism will always be the rule.

  • nomi on November 2, 2006, 3:39 GMT

    Mr Kamran u ve done a great job analysing the situation. Pakistani team is going to find themselves in a sinking ship after Asif and Shoaib getting Banned from Playing Criket For 1 year and 2 year it is going to be tough for pakistan to make up something for coming world cup even coming home series

  • Zishan Iqbal on November 2, 2006, 1:21 GMT

    Totally agree 100% - we pay for the best coach in the world, so lets listen to him! Lets implement his ideas and lets build a strong competitive mindset - one that says lets be the best, lets always win, lets always be looking to improve, lets always fight for everything and not for how much money we can get! But sadly, I feel the truth is that this will NEVER happen with Pakistani cricket and we will always be the ok but inconsistent team that could have been great. And if that turns out to be the case, then Ive had enough - I have no more energy to support this team. PS I feel so sorry for Mohammed Asif - it seems from the statement that he is just a poor, uneducated village boy who has been badly let down by his cricket board. Shame on the PCB for that.

  • Atif on November 2, 2006, 1:03 GMT

    I like the fact that you changed your opinion on Younis captaining Pakistan in ODIs. I always felt a good leader is the one, who promotes his team mates, not compete with them and who wouldn't hang his players out to dry and escape the blame himself. Inzamam stood up for his men repeatedly during his tenure; Nasim Ashraf didn't, even during his first month. First, he brought up a non-issue of religion in cricket. Second, he went to senate and blamed Inzy on whole Oval fiasco, when we all know PCB's who's who were all there at the time. It is sad that we have so many problems. What is sadder is we keep adding to those instead of solving them. Shehryar's departure was one step forward. Nasim's arrival is unfortunately two steps backwards.

  • saif on November 11, 2006, 6:49 GMT

    Hi, Please review the case of fast bowler asif on grounds of his innocence & if possible to decrease the ban on shoaib akhtar,so that he can return to cricket, after all he is gives lots of enjoyment to spectators. Also please do something on fastbowler shabbir ahmed.

  • Shariq Butt on November 4, 2006, 12:51 GMT

    Its not the matter of sacking foreign coaches but the thinking, attitude and arrogance which has developed in the Asian Teams.

    The tribunal verdict is disappointing,where is the President of Pakistan now??? who earlier had stopped Shoaib from giving any public reply.

    There looks to be deep consiparcy hatched against the two Pakistani fast bowlers....... Great News as I write Darrel Hair has been taken of from umpiring in the international fixtures

  • Aravind on November 4, 2006, 10:30 GMT

    Hi, Pakistan should revoke the decision on asif atleast.

  • Sawliha on November 3, 2006, 6:31 GMT

    I agree with you Mr.Abbasi. I think we will be in serious trouble if we sack Woolmer now. I think Mr.Ashraf is creating more problems than solving any. And it's mainly due to the fact that the President of Pakistan is a "patron" of the PCB, who unfortunately finds it necessary to butt in "non-political" issues such as cricket. I was disappointed in the tribunal's verdict. Has PCB paid any heed to the way Asif talks? That kid can barely speak proper Urdu. Do they really think he knows about the usage of banned substances if PCB fails to provide adequate information? The ban impose on Akhtar is understandable; he has been in cricket for almost 10 years and he should know better. I personally think we need to drop Afridi from the squad. He hasn't been "in form" in several years and it's about high time PCB gets rid of this "glam factor". As far as Younis Khan is concerned, I don't think he is ready for captaincy. The inconsistency he demonstrated during the Champions Trophy is a good indication of that.

  • saabizsah on November 2, 2006, 9:59 GMT

    well it is just an expression of subcontinent mentality (blaming the system), what about idividual responsibilities and application, remember javed miandad, imran khan , wasim akram,waqar younis - all these were not only talented but they knew how to apply themselves in any situation, which our current bunch of lads lack , just look at the way they play their shots, no thinking whatsoever. They need to learn their responsibilities(which batsmen seem to lack awareness of) and only then simulating pitches and conditions and---- is giong to help.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on November 2, 2006, 5:04 GMT

    I am in total agreement with you , Kamran. Mr. Nasim Ashraf should be making statements to support Inzi and Bob. However, he is found making several "confidence-breaking" comments. He first talked about reassessing Inzi's captaincy, then he says that the team needs to "balance religion and cricket", indirectly saying that Inzi forces players to pray. He should know that the whole cricketing world sense the positive impact of religion on this team. And after all that, he puts full responsibility of the Oval debacle on Inzi. I admired Mr. Shehryar for backing Inzi and Woolmer, as he did in the Oval fiasco. One just cant help feeling that something is going to break. I fear that Inzi and/or Woolmer may soon just leave, tired of all the controversies and pressure. Mr. Ashraf should rethink his strategy and approach, before he causes any more damage.

  • Pakfan on November 2, 2006, 3:54 GMT

    The issue is not an isolated incident. Consistency has been a non-existent quality of Pak teams always. As far as the always quoted and much praised " huge talent in Pakistan" I always wonder where does that talent exist. Given the standard of our domestic cricket, performances there certainly shouldn't count towards a potential international career. The point comes down to "raise the standard of cricket (and everything else) in Pakistan and you will have players capable of performing at par with Aussies or SA etc." But until then there is no way to tell whether we have the talent or not. Except for the seventies and eighties, our team is usually made up of 3 or 4 international caliber players and others with "great potential"--potentials that are never realized.Australian fast bowlers have had injury problems, too. But they can pick some unkown entity who will make a mark (examples: Rodney Hogg, Terry Alderman, Geoff Dymock, Gary Gilmore, Bob Massie etc. etc.). Only because their system allows them to test the player's true capabilities before making an international debut.So, You are right in advising the PCB to focus on improving the standards of domestic cricket and the wickets. However, I doubt that we truly have as much talent as we are made to believe. As far as the PCB set up is concerned, I believe it would be more realistic to suggest that we rename our beloved country as "Ad Hoc Republic of Pakistan" where ad hocism will always be the rule.

  • nomi on November 2, 2006, 3:39 GMT

    Mr Kamran u ve done a great job analysing the situation. Pakistani team is going to find themselves in a sinking ship after Asif and Shoaib getting Banned from Playing Criket For 1 year and 2 year it is going to be tough for pakistan to make up something for coming world cup even coming home series

  • Zishan Iqbal on November 2, 2006, 1:21 GMT

    Totally agree 100% - we pay for the best coach in the world, so lets listen to him! Lets implement his ideas and lets build a strong competitive mindset - one that says lets be the best, lets always win, lets always be looking to improve, lets always fight for everything and not for how much money we can get! But sadly, I feel the truth is that this will NEVER happen with Pakistani cricket and we will always be the ok but inconsistent team that could have been great. And if that turns out to be the case, then Ive had enough - I have no more energy to support this team. PS I feel so sorry for Mohammed Asif - it seems from the statement that he is just a poor, uneducated village boy who has been badly let down by his cricket board. Shame on the PCB for that.

  • Atif on November 2, 2006, 1:03 GMT

    I like the fact that you changed your opinion on Younis captaining Pakistan in ODIs. I always felt a good leader is the one, who promotes his team mates, not compete with them and who wouldn't hang his players out to dry and escape the blame himself. Inzamam stood up for his men repeatedly during his tenure; Nasim Ashraf didn't, even during his first month. First, he brought up a non-issue of religion in cricket. Second, he went to senate and blamed Inzy on whole Oval fiasco, when we all know PCB's who's who were all there at the time. It is sad that we have so many problems. What is sadder is we keep adding to those instead of solving them. Shehryar's departure was one step forward. Nasim's arrival is unfortunately two steps backwards.

  • haris on November 2, 2006, 0:36 GMT

    I agree. We definatly need to change the system that hasn't served us at all. Pakistan's success have sololey depended on our raw talent for a number of years and our board officials can't take any credit at all. I have been a cricket lover for almost 14 years now and not yet i have seen a reall efficiant or profesional board in pakistan cricket. yes they all talk big when they arrive and things still remain the same or get worse when they leave. we need to change the system from scratch and that's the only way we can hope for any good for our future and if we look closely we haven't even produced any worthy and reliable players for a long time now and its a reall worry and it needs to be practicaly sorted out as soon as possible. Before it gets too late or we'll end up in a hole and it'll be really hard to dig ourselves out of it.

  • Syed Mohammed H. on November 2, 2006, 0:12 GMT

    I totaly agree. The PCB is not a board that is functioning as well as it needs to. Bob's idea about making suitable to fast bowlers is an exceptiona idea. Pakistani batsmen need to be able to bat on pitches that aren't flat.

  • Sami Syed on November 2, 2006, 0:05 GMT

    Well said! If things continue the way they are then I predict the world cup will be disasterous. Firstly, I think PCB is dumb founded by taking things that should be discussed behind closed doors public. For example Nasim's comments about religion. Secondly, should they have not just pulled Shoaib and Asif without making the drug test public since it was internal.

    Nevertheless, Shoaib and Asif are out now and our World Cup chances seem all the more bleek. To solve this issue I think we need to make some changes. Batting is not so bad with Inzy in the line-up they just need to be disciplined in the middle and late order. Asim Kamal and Yasir Hammed are top notch options. I think Yasir and Hafeez will make a good opening pair. Followed by Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Inzy, Shoaib Malik and Either Abdul Razzaq or Shahid Afridi depending on a seam track or a spinning track.

    The main problem now is bowling. The current cop of Rao, Gul and Rana are not upto par by any means. Whatever happened to those players from the UNDER 19 world cup. I think Sami should be given one more chance. And a BOWLERS training camp should be setup to pick a new crop of bowlers who can be attacking and intimidating with control and pace.

    The team needs a makeover. QUICK!

    SAMI

  • Shahid on November 1, 2006, 23:54 GMT

    Kamran, it is always great to read your articles but i always end up in a disagreement about some points you make, although i dont wanna. i personally think that more than anything its all about your professional attitude. How much have Australians struggled on pitches in the subcontinent, struggle they do, but look at their record against Pakistan although they do struggle against India but not as miserably as we do in their backyard. Its just the mindset of our players that scares the hell out of them when they see a bouncy, juicy wicket, makes them tremble, nervous and shaky. Although we have produced few of the worlds best bowlers in last two decades but how many times have we been able to make Australians and South Africans look miserable in their own backyards or even on our own grounds. Indians have been able to play better than us on pitches that dont suit our nature. They have been able to at least win couple of test matches against Australians in last few years, which we have failed to. Pitches like Old Trafford can be produced at Lahore (we had one against India at Karachi recently) but problem lies elsewhere.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 1, 2006, 23:48 GMT

    I think you'll also have to eat words regarding what you said about the unethical past behavior of the PCB in your last blog. I think the PCB has acted very responsibly in giving this verdict against Shoaib and Asif. The whole matter was conducted impartially, professionally, ethically, and without regard to any consequences of the team's chances in the upcoming World Cup, etc. You should retract on your condescending statement you made in your last blog.

  • Euceph Ahmed on November 1, 2006, 23:36 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, While I generally agree with your thoughts in this blog, I think you'll have to eat your words after reading the PCB Doping Committee's findings on Shoaib Akhtar. You'd have to agree that cricketers in Pakistan enjoy a celebrity status like no one else. This makes them liable for public scrutiny which, I believe, is only natural. I concur with you that we, as fans, should protect and support our players. In turn, however, the players must recognize that they're role models for millions. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. They can change the world for the better through their public personna. Shoaib Akhtar's conduct has gone far beyond the threshold of public acceptance not just in Pakistan, but in any civilized country. I must say that I was ashamed to read what he told the PCB. In the process he has not only tainted himself, he has tainted the whole country. How could you support such a man? I'm glad that he's out of the team, and I hope he never comes back. I couldn't care less about the overhyped excitement he brought to the game. I'll take a Glen McGrath over him any day any time.

    As far as the woes of Pakistan cricket are concerned, I would attribute them more to the Board's politics than structural flaws in our players' technique. I wonder why no one talks about the call Inzamam received from General Musharraf on that fateful evening at the Oval backing him for not taking the field. When the affairs of the board are run in such a manner, who can you blame? I would venture to suggest here that the PCB should go public i.e., made into a public corporation and listed at the Karachi Stock Exchange. This will fix most of the problems that cricket faces in Pakistan. The public interest in cricket makes it only natural that the public should be a stakeholder in cricketing affairs of the country. With General sahab incharge however, that seems like a distant possibility.

  • Aftab Qureshi on November 1, 2006, 23:32 GMT

    I can agree with most of what Kamran has said. But let me invite readers' attention to what he may not have said. I too believe in Imran Khan-like long term solution: develop competitive domestic cricket on a sound and sustainable basis. But I also think that there are important short term goals if we have to sustain our position in the upper half of ICC rankings.

    The first goal is to find openers who can consistently perform and give us at least a 50+ stand to build the innings. The second is to find dependable batters for the No.6 position for one-day and test cricket. Ideally, this spot should be filled by a wicket keeper who can be as dependable as Adam Gilchrist, so that we could pack-in two all-rounders (one seamer and one spinner) and three specialist pace bowlers, with the caveat that at times, pitch condoitons will demand replacing the spinning all-rounder with a spacialist spinner. But since we dont seem to have a potential "gilly", we have to do with the next best. But is Kamran Akmal that next best, I doubt.

    The long and short of all this is that we really have only four players who merit the full-time, class A contracts at this time: Younis khan, Mohammad Yousaf, Abdul Razzaq and Inzamam, the last named only for the next one year or so.

    So, what to do? First, downgrade the contracts for players other than the four named above, putting others on alert that they are not an automatic choice. Second, do something more purposeful and different to convert the "bench-strength" to a selction-quality group of cricketers. Here the opinion of experts will count on how to organize training, practice and physical conditioning. The only thought that comes to my mind is that we should prapare a variety of tracks in various climatic conditions that we have from north to south. These tracks should mimick conditions that are to be expected in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England. The relevant set of tracks should be used for training and match practice before we embark on a foreign tour.

    One final word: I dont believe much will change unless we have a Board governed by elected representatives of genuine cricket bodies. It's time to fire the President as the so called Patron-in-Chief!

  • Azhar on November 1, 2006, 23:24 GMT

    Well said with one MAIN point missing. That is, the attitude of all pakistanis need to change. Be humble not arrogant.

  • awais butt on November 1, 2006, 23:24 GMT

    please don;t post any senceable articles on line cause it does not effect any one specially these retired dumm veterans.

  • Zed Fazel on November 1, 2006, 23:07 GMT

    I fully agree with your views. Pakistan authorities/public should chart a stable course. What we normally see is euphorism when Pakistan wins and gloom and doom when they lose.And then,the scapegoats list becomes never ending.The facts are basic and very simple. To solve any problem, it is pertinent to identify the cause. In Pakistan cricket, it is very evident: (1) Lack of adaptability on tracks where there is bounce and movement (2)Poor fielding. As an example,had Kamran Akmal did the right thing to run out Styris,the script of the match could have been different. The solutions would therefore be:(1) Produce fast bouncy tracks with plenty of movement. (2)The team physio to drill the team in physical fitness and fielding. Also, lush green outfields would help in mastering the art of slides. Cricket is a team game and the players however talented they may be should understand that. A united team playing for each other produces far better and consistent results. Batsmen should practice the art of versatility. Play according to the situation. Against New Zealand, 8 out 10 wickets were due to wrong shot selection. A little bit 'self-belief'and the will to stay at the wicket would help.

  • Mujahid Zaidi on November 1, 2006, 23:01 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi has pointed out all the major problems with the PCB leadership and the system at large. I hope and pray that PCB officials would give some heed to this article and make some wise decisions in future.

  • Hassan Mahmood on November 1, 2006, 21:54 GMT

    Yes, I totally agree. Even as a loyal, hardcore fan since I was 7 (1992), I can not take much more of this, especially since we were World Cup favourites in September.

    I was also at the Old Trafford test and saw the 119 debacle. All it required was some fight like Younis and Yousuf showed on that day. But we failed, miserably.

    I always enjoyed Pakistan coming to England to sort out the English and their media. However, I was almost embarrased attending the Old Trafford and Headingley tests, even though injuries were crucial.

    Pakistan fans have deserted the team after all these scandals. It is imperative that the PCB acts NOW to stop further from doing so.

    Bouncy pitches are not hard to make. Stop mollycoddling these batsmen.

    Hassan, Birmingham, England

  • Fasih Khalili- an ardent cricket fan from Pakistan on November 1, 2006, 21:25 GMT

    I agree with you Mr. Kamran. It has been a typical situation of Pakistan Cricket as a whole being under a crisis and hoping for a miracle to turn things around for a good three months before we see another unbearable debacle. Cricket lovers of Pakistan have been been through this agony more than once and mind you here we are talking about a country where the available talent for "playing" cricket is inarguably world class. It boils down to the very basic notion of harnessing and streamlining that talent to meet the needs of modern day cricket. Where cricket is not just about performing on the field but also looking after, maintaining and managing that performance over a stretch of a season, to say the least. This requires absolute professionalism from the junior most member of the playing eleven(both on and off the field) to the person in-charge of the board. Needless to mention Inzi and Bob Wolmer, who are ever so important individuals for the upcoming worldcup. We need ot take our cricket very professioanlly; perhaps hire management consultants who can take each tour (talking of tours the World Cup is just round the corner!) as a project, highlight the possible risks involved on and off the field and assist the tour management team to matigate and monitor them. We need professionalism to run the cricket board where the board member sits with every member of the team and listen to his concerns and feedback and act in a cricket-wise manner. On that note, I am sure there is no lack of circketing advice available in a country like Pakistan where cricket is a house hold thing for millions of cricket followers, let alone the people running the game or who have had the honour of representing their country in the game .

  • Jamil Akhtar USA on November 1, 2006, 21:20 GMT

    I am in agreement with Rashid Latif aboutthe foreign coaches.They dont have emotional incentive to do anything spectacular.India and Pakistan have won world cup under their own coaches.Regarding Pakistan most of the players dont understand English how can they be coached by an English speaking coach. Bob Woolmer does know how many of our domestic cricket is played on cemented wickets ,for his knowledge they dont give any movement to the ball although they are fast.Players who are used to play on these wickets cannot play moving ball. Plaese get rid of him.

  • mawali on November 1, 2006, 21:07 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, today your words ring hollow. You sound no different then 99% of "knee jerk reaction fans. You are now ready to ride the Inzy bandwagon after what you saw in Mohali. This kind of reasoning is why Pakistan cricket is where it is today. Today we stand literally emptionally exhausted from the Shoaib and M. Asif ordeal. It is indeed a sad day for Pakistan cricket. Where was Bob Woolmer and Capitaan Inzy when Shaoib was taking these illegal drugs? How come they did not know about it? This I refuse to believe and accept. The coach and the Captain has to know what is going on with each TEAM player regarding their attitude or proclivities. In one swift move Pakistan bowling department has been wiped out. Then we have pundits like yourself who wax philosophic and play the Monday morning quarterback, or arm chair captain. Inzy is not the answer and was never the answer to captaincy. A great middle order batsman, on dead pitches for the most part. PCB needs to hit the road as it were in search of another Shoaib, Imran, Mjid Khan, Saeed Anwar, then coach them, in the mean time try competing with the likes of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

  • Khurram Jahangir on November 1, 2006, 21:01 GMT

    I second the suggestions of revamping our domestic cricket together with preparing 'Perthesque' pitches. It is far too easy to blame the shortcomings of a failed player than to point the finger at the whole system.

    I also believe Imran Khan can better serve Pakistan as the head of PCB rather than the head of the state; since Cricket brings more joy to us Pakistani's than anything else (at least it does to me).

    If only the decision makers could realize their duties towards Pakistani Cricket fans and could feel the sorrow that accompanies the failure of the Pakistani team, only then we can hope for a better future.

  • Imran on November 1, 2006, 20:54 GMT

    You just caught what i had in my mind.Once again a pure understanding and thoughtful of you. I beleive We just have to keep the politics out of cricket. The day we managed to do that, we are gona be ona the best teams in the world, how much talent has been wasted because of politics. One thing is for sure, our people (Pakistani in specific) dont want to accept their mistakes, everyone thinks he is smarter then the other and proud of none. The move of Mr Ashraf of calling all the Ex-Crickers is not bad if they could all agree and think about a positive future of Pakistan cricket, but all they will end up let me tell you is , everyone is gona try to make his impact, as he was the greatest of all, and the talk will end nowhere , but the disputes between the few that are gona show up. I think the coach has done a great job, so far so let BOB Woolmer alone, If PCB would listen to what he wants to be done with the team and the team co-operated especially Shoaib and co. we would have been in a different situation. You do you even have to blame a coach, when you have so many inconsistent batsman in your team? The best solution of to what i see is nurture the talent that you have and discipline em. and let the coach and the captain do their job, and Please to the CHAIRMAN of Pollutified PCB to stop making personal comments about the players and what they do in their personal life, which has nothing to do with their Cricketing Careers. My 2 cents...

  • Bamboozled on November 1, 2006, 20:18 GMT

    And the effort to stabilize continues -- with Akhtar and Asif both banned. Gimme a break!! We just threw away the world cup. Our brilliant performance in India exposed the lack of bowling power (when was the last time pakistan gave 100 runs in the last 10 overs?). So we go ahead and ban our best 2 bowlers despite the fact that this was an internal matter and there was enough doubt when the end result is to basically end akhtar's career. The ICC showed how to back your guys -- Hair obviously acted against the spirit of the game and got away pretty much scot free (you know he'll be back umpiring quite soon). And our guys are hell bent on shooting themselves in the foot at every opportunity they get. why???

    -- Disheartened to the point of no return

  • armughan on November 1, 2006, 19:30 GMT

    I think that the board and the team are having terrible leaders. Dr. Sahib lacks the leadership to run the Pakistn board. People dare not overtake road rollers, he is taking them head-on. As for Younas Khan, he lacks imagination, a great captain for 15 over or so, at present but not a good permanent option. I hope that he can groom his skills in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy leading Peshawer. Currenlty leaders are not running the affairs, they are rather ruining them. Matters need to change quickly otherwise, World CUP will be lost due to a board that was rolled under the roller of time.

  • Atif Jafry on November 1, 2006, 19:26 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi,

    You have hit the nail on the head. Stability and discipline are the only 2 virtues that will give us any chance of even seeing the further rounds of the world cup.

    Faith is another. We can not lose faith in our players, captain and coach. Woolmer has done wonderful things with the team. For example, we can now chase and win games, bowl and field to a plan and actually do homework before a game to identify and expose weaknesses.

    The days of the super-stars are gone. We need to bundle down as a group and focus. After all, Imran's tiger's did do it in 1992 without Waqar.

  • Usman on November 1, 2006, 19:16 GMT

    Pakistan's Cricket Board cant't succeed unless management starts to worry more about the teams performances then there pay cheques, PCB is packed with politics..what they need to do is have academys bring up young kids give them a chance rather then keep on bringing back the same failed people.Nothing will changed with the PCB, we will watch the same mistakes happen again and again.

  • cassim on November 1, 2006, 19:10 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    I totally agree with your hypothesis here. Woolmer should remain as coach for the time being, although I seriously doubt that he'll accept this role of coaching Pakistani team, after the worldcup. Now that we are without our pace attack due to the ban imposed on both of our major players, its time to unite rather than criticise the team. My message to the authorities is to let team decide what is best for them and let the selection board make decisions without any pressure regarding the selection of players for the forthcoming series and world cup.

    It can be tilted both ways, either it would be the begining of an end or ending of a start.

  • Dr Hafeez on November 1, 2006, 18:59 GMT

    Absolutely correct you are. This domestic system is really harming pakistan cricket, and its high time to change it and make it a reagional cricket system. But, I strongly believe that we as a nation want too many changes too quickly. I think Inzamam and Bob has done a very good job over the years. And if we have any outside chance of making it to semifinals of the world cup, these are the man for us.

  • Nisma Rafiq on November 1, 2006, 18:58 GMT

    I want to say that appointing Inzamam as a captain and Bob woolmer as a coach till world cup will be the best. Our team is incomplete without Inzamam. After all when we win there a is a big hand of him. He is the one and under bob woolmer who make our team victorious.They are the best no problem is asif and shoib r not there we have won the matches without them but not inzy (one should be there)And Naseem Ashraf i dont like he is against all the team and whatever he says is wrng for team. Younis time will come after 2007 WC & may be he will lead the side in 2011 Wc.

  • Butt Sahib on November 1, 2006, 18:31 GMT

    The future for Asian teams, in particular Pakistan looks bleak, albeit for the immediate term. Historically neither Pakistan nor India have dominated world cricket as West Indies and Australia. Asian hockey teams suffered the same fate, internal bickering, lack of structure and lack of methodology resulted in their decline.

    The problem with Pakistan is not that of talent but of temperament. Individual brilliance will win you games but it will not afford you to dominate.

  • Nabeel adeel on November 1, 2006, 18:00 GMT

    Hi Kamran Well i do agree to what you said about the board sitting down with Woolmer and Inzi,hearing their suggestions and letting them implement them.I write this to you just as Shoaib and Asif have been banned and really that ban in itself has ruined any chances of Pakistan doing well in the world cup.It was the correct punishment for both but thinking about the future i dont think now we have enough bite in the bowling attack to create problems for top teams.All this is so disappointing for a team who i thought with a full strenght squad would have had a serious chance of winning the trophy.I still hope they come out of this dopping fiasco and do well in the future but i think now it is hoping against hope.The ideas about concrete pitches and changes in domestic structure sound good but all that implementation is going to take a while and even if we do it now i dont think it will improve our world cup performance in anyway.looking at Australia they have so many options and everything is so well set for them that as a matter of fact for us to be able to beat them would be a minor miracle. Thank you

  • Qasim Hussain on November 1, 2006, 17:48 GMT

    Hi Kamran,

    I totally agree with you column. Its the system that has failed and not the player, captain or coach.

    I have always believed that Pakistan can be one of the greatest cricketing nations and i do not believe this because of the fact that I, myself am a Pakistani but because of the fact that Pakistan is the only other nation along with Australia and South Africa who produces genuine batsmen, bowlers and all rounders.

    When i look at India, i do not see one bowler or all rounder in their team that can make it into the Pakistani side if he was to be playing in Pakistan. And its not just Bowlers and All rounders that Pakistan produce.

    Pakistan's a gifted cricketing nation and as Mr. Kamran appointed out, its not the players, captain or coaches who are at fault. Its the system and am afraid untill this system is rectified, we can only dream of Pakistan becoming a Crikceting Nation of true greatness.

    I would like to end this by just saying that, this column is great. The fans get to express their views for a change.

    Thank you all for reading this.

    Qasim

  • Usama Sarwar on November 1, 2006, 17:46 GMT

    I've always felt that the whole problem with Pakistan cricket has been the PCB not really owning up to the fact that the Pakistan cricket team, consisting of its employees, is its responsibility. The board simply tries to act as some sort of 'facilitator', not really wanting to do anything that hurts the status quo. The PCB needs to be run like the major business organization that it is, taking a cue from Cricket Australia perhaps. The PCB tries to pull cute little stunts like hiring someone like Jonty Rhodes or Geoff Boycott for 15 days to impart whatever 'wisdom' they can. Sometimes even these experts are bemused by their appointments, knowing that it will lead to nothing at all. We've wasted nearly two generations of extremely talented cricketers because of pathetic management, having very little to show for our endeavours. Ironically, I feel the only way things could possibly get straightened out is if other sports, like football, start catching on in Pakistan. This will mean that the PCB can no longer rely on a permanent fan base that has no choice but to loyally and regularly support their representatives i.e. the cricket team. Mr. Abbasi is right on target when he says that instead of the PCB somehow trying to fool us into beleiving that it is the cricketers who fail the system, it is the system that fails the cricketers.

  • Abdul K. Hussain on November 1, 2006, 17:37 GMT

    Out of all the blogs you've written this one makes the most sense. I agree 100% wholesale changes now, especially after the Asif and Shoaib verdicts would create further pandemonium. But somehow I think ego's are involved here and Nasim Ashraf may have a point to prove especially to Inxi whom he has rather publicly left out to fry for the Oval debacle. Hopefully better sense will prevail, Insi and Woolmer are the men, and we should just stick with that and plan around it.

  • Raza Zaidi on November 1, 2006, 17:07 GMT

    It is noteworthy that despite the fact that New Zealand have done poorly in both forms of the game in recent memory, Fleming is now their longest-standing captain. You also do not hear of wholesale changes in their team or the board. The second example is that of South Africa, who have largely underperformed under the captaincy of Smith, but they persisted with the overall makeup of the team and the leadership. The outcome is that both NZ and SA find themselves in the semifinals of the champions trophy. And this bodes well for them just a few months before the world cup. Is Pakistan cricket willing to learn from these two?

  • Amyn Habib on November 1, 2006, 16:54 GMT

    Kamran, This is an excellent analysis and it is easy to agree with much of what you write. Pakistani fans should face the reality that this is a very mediocre team and is likely to do even worse (if that is possible) than the 2003 team. You cannot expect people to deliver a quality they do not possess. Sure, this team will win some matches against the 2nd tier teams, but is unlikely to do well against the best ones. What of the future? It seems to me that it is unreasonable to expect cricketers in their twenties to relearn the game. It is too late to teach Farhat not to flash outside the off stump, or to teach Afridi to play a shot along the ground. The only hope for Pakistan to focus real resources and effort into the training of young talented players (use a Woolmer or a Boycott), and ensure complete fairness in player selection. It is also time to look at the selection committee which, over the years, has done massive damage to the team. Is it too much to ask that you select players based on merit and recent performance? I also agree with the idea that we need to redefine what “all rounder” means. I would suggest that to qualify as an all rounder one should be able to either bowl or bat at the highest level—and then do a bit of the other. The practice of populating the team with substandard all rounders has decimated the one day team. The solutions are straight forward and based on common sense. Amyn Habib

  • Shahbaz Faheem on November 1, 2006, 14:36 GMT

    Yes, I fully agree with you Mr. Kamran. The important thing for Pak cricket now is stability and good leadership. I think Inzamam is best suited for those qualities, under him Pakistan had stability and leadership, though not very good, but much much better than Younis. Inzamam may not be a tactician but a fighter unlike Younis who other than clapping & shouting does nothing.

    I would like to emphasize that a captain alone cannot win matches if the other team members are not committed to game. So it is high time we get rid of cricketers who are mere showmen or some hi-fi's relatives.

    My suggestion is Inzamam should lead in both forms of game and Younis should be left out of one day team also get rid of Shahid Afridi & Imran Farhat. We shld get back Yasir Hamid and select young & emerging players like Bazid Khan & Shahid Yousuf groom them by giving enough chances. Select specialist batsmen & bowlers instead of bits & pieces players who are good for nothing.

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  • Shahbaz Faheem on November 1, 2006, 14:36 GMT

    Yes, I fully agree with you Mr. Kamran. The important thing for Pak cricket now is stability and good leadership. I think Inzamam is best suited for those qualities, under him Pakistan had stability and leadership, though not very good, but much much better than Younis. Inzamam may not be a tactician but a fighter unlike Younis who other than clapping & shouting does nothing.

    I would like to emphasize that a captain alone cannot win matches if the other team members are not committed to game. So it is high time we get rid of cricketers who are mere showmen or some hi-fi's relatives.

    My suggestion is Inzamam should lead in both forms of game and Younis should be left out of one day team also get rid of Shahid Afridi & Imran Farhat. We shld get back Yasir Hamid and select young & emerging players like Bazid Khan & Shahid Yousuf groom them by giving enough chances. Select specialist batsmen & bowlers instead of bits & pieces players who are good for nothing.

  • Amyn Habib on November 1, 2006, 16:54 GMT

    Kamran, This is an excellent analysis and it is easy to agree with much of what you write. Pakistani fans should face the reality that this is a very mediocre team and is likely to do even worse (if that is possible) than the 2003 team. You cannot expect people to deliver a quality they do not possess. Sure, this team will win some matches against the 2nd tier teams, but is unlikely to do well against the best ones. What of the future? It seems to me that it is unreasonable to expect cricketers in their twenties to relearn the game. It is too late to teach Farhat not to flash outside the off stump, or to teach Afridi to play a shot along the ground. The only hope for Pakistan to focus real resources and effort into the training of young talented players (use a Woolmer or a Boycott), and ensure complete fairness in player selection. It is also time to look at the selection committee which, over the years, has done massive damage to the team. Is it too much to ask that you select players based on merit and recent performance? I also agree with the idea that we need to redefine what “all rounder” means. I would suggest that to qualify as an all rounder one should be able to either bowl or bat at the highest level—and then do a bit of the other. The practice of populating the team with substandard all rounders has decimated the one day team. The solutions are straight forward and based on common sense. Amyn Habib

  • Raza Zaidi on November 1, 2006, 17:07 GMT

    It is noteworthy that despite the fact that New Zealand have done poorly in both forms of the game in recent memory, Fleming is now their longest-standing captain. You also do not hear of wholesale changes in their team or the board. The second example is that of South Africa, who have largely underperformed under the captaincy of Smith, but they persisted with the overall makeup of the team and the leadership. The outcome is that both NZ and SA find themselves in the semifinals of the champions trophy. And this bodes well for them just a few months before the world cup. Is Pakistan cricket willing to learn from these two?

  • Abdul K. Hussain on November 1, 2006, 17:37 GMT

    Out of all the blogs you've written this one makes the most sense. I agree 100% wholesale changes now, especially after the Asif and Shoaib verdicts would create further pandemonium. But somehow I think ego's are involved here and Nasim Ashraf may have a point to prove especially to Inxi whom he has rather publicly left out to fry for the Oval debacle. Hopefully better sense will prevail, Insi and Woolmer are the men, and we should just stick with that and plan around it.

  • Usama Sarwar on November 1, 2006, 17:46 GMT

    I've always felt that the whole problem with Pakistan cricket has been the PCB not really owning up to the fact that the Pakistan cricket team, consisting of its employees, is its responsibility. The board simply tries to act as some sort of 'facilitator', not really wanting to do anything that hurts the status quo. The PCB needs to be run like the major business organization that it is, taking a cue from Cricket Australia perhaps. The PCB tries to pull cute little stunts like hiring someone like Jonty Rhodes or Geoff Boycott for 15 days to impart whatever 'wisdom' they can. Sometimes even these experts are bemused by their appointments, knowing that it will lead to nothing at all. We've wasted nearly two generations of extremely talented cricketers because of pathetic management, having very little to show for our endeavours. Ironically, I feel the only way things could possibly get straightened out is if other sports, like football, start catching on in Pakistan. This will mean that the PCB can no longer rely on a permanent fan base that has no choice but to loyally and regularly support their representatives i.e. the cricket team. Mr. Abbasi is right on target when he says that instead of the PCB somehow trying to fool us into beleiving that it is the cricketers who fail the system, it is the system that fails the cricketers.

  • Qasim Hussain on November 1, 2006, 17:48 GMT

    Hi Kamran,

    I totally agree with you column. Its the system that has failed and not the player, captain or coach.

    I have always believed that Pakistan can be one of the greatest cricketing nations and i do not believe this because of the fact that I, myself am a Pakistani but because of the fact that Pakistan is the only other nation along with Australia and South Africa who produces genuine batsmen, bowlers and all rounders.

    When i look at India, i do not see one bowler or all rounder in their team that can make it into the Pakistani side if he was to be playing in Pakistan. And its not just Bowlers and All rounders that Pakistan produce.

    Pakistan's a gifted cricketing nation and as Mr. Kamran appointed out, its not the players, captain or coaches who are at fault. Its the system and am afraid untill this system is rectified, we can only dream of Pakistan becoming a Crikceting Nation of true greatness.

    I would like to end this by just saying that, this column is great. The fans get to express their views for a change.

    Thank you all for reading this.

    Qasim

  • Nabeel adeel on November 1, 2006, 18:00 GMT

    Hi Kamran Well i do agree to what you said about the board sitting down with Woolmer and Inzi,hearing their suggestions and letting them implement them.I write this to you just as Shoaib and Asif have been banned and really that ban in itself has ruined any chances of Pakistan doing well in the world cup.It was the correct punishment for both but thinking about the future i dont think now we have enough bite in the bowling attack to create problems for top teams.All this is so disappointing for a team who i thought with a full strenght squad would have had a serious chance of winning the trophy.I still hope they come out of this dopping fiasco and do well in the future but i think now it is hoping against hope.The ideas about concrete pitches and changes in domestic structure sound good but all that implementation is going to take a while and even if we do it now i dont think it will improve our world cup performance in anyway.looking at Australia they have so many options and everything is so well set for them that as a matter of fact for us to be able to beat them would be a minor miracle. Thank you

  • Butt Sahib on November 1, 2006, 18:31 GMT

    The future for Asian teams, in particular Pakistan looks bleak, albeit for the immediate term. Historically neither Pakistan nor India have dominated world cricket as West Indies and Australia. Asian hockey teams suffered the same fate, internal bickering, lack of structure and lack of methodology resulted in their decline.

    The problem with Pakistan is not that of talent but of temperament. Individual brilliance will win you games but it will not afford you to dominate.

  • Nisma Rafiq on November 1, 2006, 18:58 GMT

    I want to say that appointing Inzamam as a captain and Bob woolmer as a coach till world cup will be the best. Our team is incomplete without Inzamam. After all when we win there a is a big hand of him. He is the one and under bob woolmer who make our team victorious.They are the best no problem is asif and shoib r not there we have won the matches without them but not inzy (one should be there)And Naseem Ashraf i dont like he is against all the team and whatever he says is wrng for team. Younis time will come after 2007 WC & may be he will lead the side in 2011 Wc.

  • Dr Hafeez on November 1, 2006, 18:59 GMT

    Absolutely correct you are. This domestic system is really harming pakistan cricket, and its high time to change it and make it a reagional cricket system. But, I strongly believe that we as a nation want too many changes too quickly. I think Inzamam and Bob has done a very good job over the years. And if we have any outside chance of making it to semifinals of the world cup, these are the man for us.