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October 18, 2010

Politics

Punish Ijaz Butt not Pakistan cricket

Kamran Abbasi
Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, at the ICC board meeting, Dubai, October 12, 2010
The task force headed by Giles Clarke must remember that it is the PCB that deserves blame, not Pakistan cricket  © Getty Images
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The ICC has demanded that Pakistan cricket put its house in order. Reform or be expelled is the cry. For any ardent ICC observers this is a shocking statement simply because the ICC is a serial coward when it comes to confronting its member boards. For Pakistan cricket fans the shock is that their team could be expelled from international cricket. Amidst this catalogue of revelations, the least shocking is that Pakistan's cricket board is in a certified mess. I say cricket board, because this week's Twenty20 domestic tournament played out in front of packed houses, has shown that the thrill of Pakistan cricket is still alive.

For once, ICC's statement is unusually clear. It will take strong action to stamp out corruption, and the PCB is clearly singled out as the number one basket case. I welcome a strong stance on corruption from ICC even though it seems like too little too late. I welcome the ICC's censuring of a dysfunctional cricket board even though it happens to be the PCB. Yet there are major issues that the ICC must address.

The PCB is an easy target, isolated and friendless in international cricket. Would the ICC have taken a more powerful member to task in similar fashion? Let us hope so and a precedent has been established but how will ICC behave if India, for example, were to bring cricket into disrepute?

Further, even Pakistan fans might argue that the ICC has not gone far enough. On what basis is Ijaz Butt still at the board table following his outrageous slander and humiliating apology directed at a fellow member state? And here lies my difficulty with the whole issue, should one man's ineptitude be allowed to destroy a country's cricket?

Indeed, who does Mr Butt represent? Does he really represent Pakistan cricket? On a constitutional level, Mr Butt represents the president of Pakistan, the right honourable Mr Asif Zardari. He was neither elected by plebiscite, nor promoted though merit. He does not represent Pakistan cricket assocations because there is no process other than imposition by the head of state.

At a pragmatic level, Mr Butt speaks for himself and runs the board like a dictatorship. Many of the greatest players in the history of Pakistan cricket consider his tenure to be the worst in the history of Pakistan cricket - and this is a mild account of what they have told me personally.

It is not just Mr Butt's damaging strategies and statements that cause concern but he also brazenly overrules everybody that he appoints. For example, the selection panel does not finally select any squad, Mr Butt does. Selectors have resigned thanks to his interference. What qualifies Mr Butt for this monstrous abuse of power other than the patronage of the president? Mr Butt and his PCB cronies do not represent Pakistan cricket, the PCB has become a politically aggrandised cabal of self-interest and limited vision.

At an emotional level, Mr Butt does not speak for the majority of Pakistan fans. He lost us at the first mumbled hello. He doesn't speak for Pakistan fans on the street or on internet forums. He doesn't speak for me or for the vast majority of supporters who follow this blog or exchange views with me on Twitter. His support is non-existent in the Pakistani media and the Pakistani parliamentary sports committee.

So what does Mr Butt represent? He certainly does represent all that is worst in politicised cricket adminstration. Ultimately, though, Mr Butt represents nobody but himself and his president. That being the case, surely the ICC should take personal action againt Mr Butt rather than punish Pakistan cricket? Why should millions of people suffer for one man's maladministration?

Apart from barring Mr Butt from holding office in cricket adminstration, the ICC must begin to reform all cricket boards that are run on a political basis. If FIFA can do it, why not the ICC? For all its talk of well-meaning task forces and integrity, the ICC has failed to take the boldest possible steps to protect the future of international cricket. At the same time, it could have rid Pakistan cricket of its permanently pressed self-destruct button.

The PCB has been put on notice in no uncertain terms but the Pakistan Task Force is a hostage to the whims of the president of Pakistan and his political motivations. The ICC's actions are full of intent but not strong enough. Worst of all, Mr Butt's name is conspicous by its absence from last week's ICC statement. Pakistan cricket is being murdered and Mr Butt is slipping into the shadows.

Yes, Pakistan cricket requires reform, and root and branch reform at that, Pakistan cricket requires all the help it can get, but it is Mr Butt who requires punishment.

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

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Keywords: Politics

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Posted by CRICKET FAN on (December 27, 2010, 11:46 GMT)

First of all we don't have to blame always ICC for our wrong doings. Secondly, ICC should treat every Cricket governing body in each country, equally (this means their should not be a partiality in their behaviors). Thirdly, their should be ethic codes from ICC(being international body)to be implemented, on all types of media. Media should not disclosed it until they have proves for any corruptions been made by player/s, officials etc, especially, during any on going match which could have effected the results of that particular match, as it effect the moral of the player/s involved in that match for instance,spot fixing case (this can be disclosed after the completion of the test match).

Posted by sufyan on (December 14, 2010, 7:49 GMT)

i agree with kamran. Butt should be punished not Pakistan cricket, and if we go in deep its pakistan's president who is responsible for destroying pakistan cricket because he appointed butt and not taking any action against him.

Posted by Nadeem Yousuf on (December 7, 2010, 15:19 GMT)

My dear all pakistani who love pakistan and cricket try to to look for positive side rather than negative we our destroying our cricket and pakistan.We pakistani never encourage for betterment for paksitan we have everything to cherish and we don't need to listen to other countries we are the one who stand against English Cricket Board to take out world cup from england.And bring money into cricket/We are the one brought neutral umpires.ICC format made by Pakistan.Support INDIAN/SRI-LANKAN/BANGLADESH and asian and Middle Eastern countries.Start cricket in Sharjah and how to take care of unfortunate cricketer who can;t get benifit in ther own countries.Now all the cricketing countries turn the back on Pakistan.They are only looking at INDIAN Cricket because they become power house like UNITED STATE OF AMERICA who dictate there terms to UN and rest of the world.Being a former cricketer of pakistani my advice to all former cricketer sit togather find a sloution.World cricket need us.

Posted by Imran Khan on (December 3, 2010, 7:49 GMT)

PCB Pls Select Pakistan Team in World Cup 1. Imran Nazir 2. Salman Butt 3. Younus Khan 4. Shoeb Malik 5. Fawad Alam 6. Shahid Afridi 7. Abdur Razzak 8. Mohammed Amir 9. Shoeb Akhtar 10.Mohammed Asif 11. Saeed Ajmal

Posted by Tahir Masood Sandhu on (November 19, 2010, 10:42 GMT)

Put your house in order or else, face expulsion from the elite group of Cricket playing nations. Not a bad idea at all.

True, that the ICC has a different yard stick for different members of the elite group. Why do we raise the conspiracy theory any time a finger is pointed in our direction? And what gives us the bright idea that Heads must roll to cure the PCB of all the ailments. The ouster of Ijaz Butt, may not stop our cricketers from erring on the cricketing fields.

In the recent past, our team visited, Sri lanka, New Zealand and Australia. During the series I have referred to, our Super Stars floored Dozens of catches, and missed countless Run out chances. Our fielding was worse than that of the Blind Penguins.

Three test matches were lost, from virtually winning positions, and only we could do it. Had pakistan won the Sydney test, Yousaf would still be the captain.

In addition to the match, spot fixing, the CONSPIRACIES & INTRIGUES result in deliberate under performing.

Posted by Shafiq Hamid on (November 11, 2010, 20:03 GMT)

Pakistan as a country is being punished and as the saying goes - "every nation has the government it deserves."

We have Zardari messing the country and Butt running our favorite sport. Neither of them feel any guilt or remorse of screwing the country or the sport.

Instead of getting our house in order - the article seems to be looking at blaming ICC or anyone else we can find.

Unfortunately we need to put our country in order starting with the top leadership. And up until then - shameless people like Butt are going to do what they like. In fact its not just Butt - bad leadership and corruption is everywhere in Pakistan.

Wake up nation! The 20% bad guys are driving the 80% good guys in the country.

Posted by Shafiq Hamid on (November 11, 2010, 20:02 GMT)

Pakistan as a country is being punished and as the saying goes - "every nation has the government it deserves."

We have Zardari messing the country and Butt running our favorite sport. Neither of them feel any guilt or remorse of screwing the country or the sport.

Instead of getting our house in order - the article seems to be looking at blaming ICC or anyone else we can find.

Unfortunately we need to put our country in order starting with the top leadership. And up until then - shameless people like Butt are going to do what they like. In fact its not just Butt - bad leadership and corruption is everywhere in Pakistan.

Wake up nation! The 20% bad guys are driving the 80% good guys in the country.

Posted by Imran Aslam Khan on (November 8, 2010, 8:53 GMT)

Mr Ijaz Butt For the sake of cricket in Pakistan, respectfully i request you to please leave Pakistan Cricket alone and let some experienced cricketer come forward for the betterment. Thank you so much.........

Posted by Dr. Mubahir Hanif on (November 4, 2010, 10:59 GMT)

Assalamoalikum! Kami bhai! Thanks so much for crying out loud. What you wrote in deed is the voice of many hearts of Pakistan cricket. Thanks for also un-veiling the ICC's double faced attitude towards its members. ICC is a lamb against for example India and a Wolf against Pakistan and PCB. Some how Pakistan lost the best trio in the recent past ( I think they were trapped), has the worst administration ever and still can produce TIGERS like Abdul Razzaq for example. This poor fella has been a soft target for many around the Globe. I doubt if PCB will put its house in order and I also doubt if ICC will put its house in order. The bullies holding the reigns of ICC seem too strong. PCB and ICC both are after the kill. Peace

Posted by aftab on (November 1, 2010, 0:32 GMT)

Today's Razzaq innings was as if against India.

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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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