Politics April 25, 2008

I'm with Malcolm

How many of the other cricket boards have financial skeletons in their bookkeeping cupboards?

As Malcolm Speed departs the stage I finally find myself agreeing with him. Financial irregularities are a cardinal sign of corruption, and while corruption has many tentacles each poisonous limb has to be amputated at every opportunity. The affairs of Zimbabwe and the poverty of its people are dismal enough without the international cricket community tacitly endorsing financial irregularities in Zimbabwe's cricket board.

The case for playing cricket against Zimbabwe is tenuous enough, it becomes almost unsustainable if there is no financial probity.

It should, however, come as no surprise that the world's cricket boards have not supported Speed's principled stand--and if early reports are to be believed it is indeed that. How many of the other cricket boards have financial skeletons in their bookkeeping cupboards?

I can name one. Guess who? Only this week Pakistani newspapers have been running pieces on how the Pakistan Cricket Board failed to disclose salary payments to its Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Marketing Director, and Director of Human Resources on its payroll. The financial officer and another finance department worker have resigned.

In my role as chief executive of a company, I find it incredible that the salaries of any staff, let alone such senior directors, have not appeared on the organization's payroll. You would not excuse this practice from a small business, coming from a major national and international organization it is an absolute disgrace from which the chief executive and chief operating officer cannot be extricated.

With money sloshing about international cricket as never before this is a time for the ICC and the Pakistani government respectively to take a firm stand. The ICC looks to be failing its test on Zimbabwe. The Pakistani government must ensure that the PCB is not allowed to wriggle out of this one either. I have no problem with cricket officials being well paid as long as they execute their roles in a deserving manner and their payments are transparent. At present, it would be hard to argue that Zimbabwe and Pakistan cricket officials are succeeding in either way. The other cricket boards should be ashamed too.

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