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June 12, 2008

Politics

Frustrated Ashraf fires a scattergun

Kamran Abbasi
Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, announces Shoaib Akhtar's five-year ban, Islamabad, April 1, 2008
 © AFP
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Some companies have a policy of avoiding emails to tick off employees. Emails often read more angrily than they were written. Cold words, delivered without the benefit of emotion or inflection, can sting and wound. But perhaps that was Dr Ashraf's intention with his furious email to Talat Ali about Pakistan's dismal performance against India?

As chairman of the board, Ashraf carries the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of the national cricket team. He has a duty to hire and fire, encourage and admonish in the pursuit of excellence and a return to glory days. On the evidence of Pakistan's recent form and this email, don't expect anything glorious anytime soon.

Since we don't have the fortune to read all his emails we can only assume that the Ashraf that is revealed in this email is the true Ashraf. And this Ashraf is frustrated, and rightly so, at the failure of his team and their abject approach. As chairman he has every right to question the team's attitude, integrity, and the wisdom of selecting unfit players. Yet, much of Ashraf's scattergun email fires bullets at targets that are outside his zone.

It is interesting to consider where a chairman should interfere and where he should not. My concern is that Ashraf's email reveals a degree of interference in team selection and cricketing tactics that is unhealthy for Pakistan cricket and beyond his remit as chairman. It is a revelation that helps explain the floundering progress of Pakistan under his tenure, because with this degree of detailed interference it is hard for the team management to execute their duties effectively to plan.

Team selection, the batting approach, and the bowling strategies are for the coach and captain to decide. The selectors are next best placed to comment and offer guidance on these issues. A chairman might offer helpful suggestions, even ask the right questions, on cricketing tactics but not offer the angry tirade in his email.

Simply put, Ashraf needs to trust his management team or fire them. Either way, he should continue his pursuit of better attitude and higher standards but leave the cricketing details to the men he has hired to do the job.

The problem for Ashraf, of course, is that he is sinking under the weight of his relentless failure--and there is too much to put right before time runs out.

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

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Keywords: Politics

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Posted by Umar on (June 19, 2008, 23:17 GMT)

Why has Kamran Abbasi not written any blog on Pakistan's win?? I suppose because he has no face to face those whom he critized a day before!

Posted by Umar on (June 19, 2008, 23:17 GMT)

Why has Kamran Abbasi not written any blog on Pakistan's sin?? I suppose because he has no face to face those whom he critized a day before!

Posted by Fahad Khan on (June 17, 2008, 14:08 GMT)

Very happy to see Pakistan win. However, I still want to see the team composition change. I don't have anything personal against Shoaib Malik, but this guy is a horrible captain (IMO). There are a lot of other people on the team who would make good captains (almost anyone else). A captain has to lead from the front, and the fact that he wasted Sohail Tanvir's last over in the previous Ind-Pak match and had Younis Khan bowl just so he wouldn't have to bowl is pathetic. If he was genuinely injured, why didn't they pick another spinner to play, or why would he play if he would be a detriment to the team? Maybe the Pakistan team is okay but they need to play more seriously and not be joking around when the opposition is batting them out of a game. IMO, its a combination of both factors. The captain and coach should be responsible for this. (If not, waht exactly are they for?)

Posted by Irfan-Dubai on (June 17, 2008, 11:43 GMT)

hi all, Congrats to Mr. Abbasi and congrats to all Pakistanis, there were talks of being IPL fever on most of the players, that actually and really showed in the final on most indian players, eventhough i am big fan of T20 cricket, but sure this will have negative effect on one day 50 overs matches, didn't you see, india could have just walked pass the target, had they played sensible cricket with mostly singles and few odd boundries, instead they wanted to finish the match in 20 odd overs. Must thank God too, as luck favoured us with toss which was very important factor to have a big target on the board.

Best of luck Pakistan and cricket Pakistan.

Love Pakistan. never give up on that.

Posted by Adeel Azhar on (June 17, 2008, 8:57 GMT)

What happened Kamran? why are you so quiet? something good has happened to Pakistani cricket after so long, i wonder whats the silence for?

Posted by PakFan on (June 16, 2008, 14:12 GMT)

Just a comment on earlier post by Posted by: Chinni at June 14, 2008 4:59 AM - "Pakistan doesn't have a bench strength"

Pakistan has talent strength - its just politics in selection don't allow the best talent to even make it to selection or even the bench !

If a true merit selection is implemented, Pakistan's actual talent can probably take on Australia anytime and come out 5-0 to win series.

A few good talents were seen but they disappeared eg Muhammad Khalil - he only got 1 ODI in the AUST tour 2-3 years back. Bazid Khan and Asim Kamal are good batsmen as well. Asim while did well in test - never got a ODI debut.

Kamran Akmal seems to be the only wicket keeper in country ! If PCB think Sarfaz Ahmed is not ready yet, probably go back to Rashid Latif or Moin Khan - both with age factor can probably still pull a better job vs Kamran.

Iftekhar Rao - what the is he doing in the team

Merit based selection is needed.

Posted by Tayyab on (June 15, 2008, 12:41 GMT)

I totally agree with Dr. Nasim Ashraf. He has the every right to make any decision at any level of PCB administration for improvement in Pakistan cricket.

Posted by Rauf on (June 15, 2008, 12:22 GMT)

To all those blaming individual players like Butt, Younis, Akmal, Malik, Afridi etc... you miss the point.

Pakistan has talent as proven by our win in Kiptly cup final against India. We just lack consistency as a result of poor management of the team. How could it be that the same team loose by 140 runs and then win it all in the same week.

Looks like players are not motivated to give their 100% in every game unless their backs are against the wall. Classic case of talented yet undisciplined team. Whose responsibility is to fix that? Coach and captain for sure. Team manager definitely. Chairman of PCB... most definitely. If Mr. Chairman thinks that he has turned the team around with one leaked email then he is gravely mistaken. Unless the foundation and discipline is fixed, we will continue to see embarrasing defeats followed by an occasional good performance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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