Pakistan cricket June 9, 2011

Can ICC stop this ruin and ridicule?

Imran Khan has described it as a suicide attack but you might wonder if there is anything left worth destroying?

Imran Khan has described it as a suicide attack but you might wonder if there is anything left worth destroying? When your cricket board spends most of its time firing off legal notices against its players, selectors, and the sport's governing body the crisis is truly a drama. The Pakistan Cricket Board is an institution incapable of persuading anybody of its point of view, resorting to exercise its wishes by threat of legal action.

The PCB's objection to the ICC's plan to depoliticise national cricket boards is understandable. The PCB is an entirely political organisation whose patron is the president of the country, and whose chairman is a direct appointment of the president and a political associate. Above all, the current chairman's position is weak. Ijaz Butt is abundantly disliked and his decision making has only brought ruin and ridicule. The only reason that he remains in charge is the patronage of President Zardari. Without politics, Butt would be out of office. The PCB is an important national institution and a prize that the ruling party would never voluntarily give away.

Hence this legal bullying is a desperate attempt to retain power. The ICC should march on regardless, depoliticising world cricket is far more important than the petty power games of Butt and his cricket board. Indeed, the ICC needs to take a much closer look at the workings of the PCB, just as closely as it seeks to examine Mohammad Amir's sixty runs and four wickets in a division one Surrey Cricket League match.

Amir's appearance for Addington 1743 is a potential violation of his ban for spot-fixing, which bars him from cricket or cricket-related activities for five years. Pakistan's pace sensation is a misguided and gullible young man who deserves pity not scorn, but he will have to live with the consequences of naivety. But ICC's rules should apply universally. While Amir is set to be punished further, his fellow miscreants, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, have become regular pundits on Pakistan television. How have the PCB and ICC allowed these cricket-related transgressions?

Pakistan television companies and producers may not have any qualms but supporters are still sickened to see these men commenting on a sport that they have defiled. Instead of blocking these appearances, the PCB has effectively endorsed them by allowing its officers to appear on the same programme. The PCB has belatedly suspended national selector Mohammad Ilyas after he shared a studio with Salman Butt, although the major reason for his suspension appears to be his dispute with Afridi.

Ijaz Butt appeared in the same programme as Salman Butt and Ilyas, and joined in the same discussion, although by telephone, yet there is no word of censure against the PCB Chairman. The administration of the PCB has been little better than amateur farce for several years but have its ethical values ever been so compromised, its political entanglements ever been so tight and damaging?

The PCB is in disrepute and Pakistan cricket is further crushed, barely able to sustain an assault by a pea-shooter let alone a suicide attacker. When the cricket board is in such crisis and its governance in ignorant disarray, the time might have come for the ICC to intervene? Only yesterday, Abdul Razzaq reminded the world of the dazzling abilities of Pakistan's cricketers, but that river of mercurial talents is in danger of being dammed forever by the damned cricket board of Ijaz Butt.

To save Pakistan cricket and cricketers, the ICC must first save them from their own cricket board.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on April 5, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Salman butt should be bann for life, he should not allowed to play even domestic,.....

  • testli5504537 on August 29, 2011, 12:03 GMT

    AFRIDI TO BE CAPTIN squad imran nazir mohammed hafeez younis khan mohmmed youfu misbah kamran umar razzaq afridi umar gul mohammed amir wahib raiz

  • testli5504537 on August 6, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    Kamran, wonderfully expressed views and I totally agree.

    As Zaffar suggested, Would you be willing to take on the burden, the pressure, the responsibility and the honour of standing up for Pakistani cricket...

  • testli5504537 on July 20, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    Awesome Post. I add this Post to my bookmarks.

  • testli5504537 on July 8, 2011, 6:13 GMT

    Kamran in his capacity as a media person has probably done his bit by raising this vendetta against Ijaz Butt time and again. While it is true that he is a disruptive influence, I am not too sure if all evils of Pakistan cricket will vanish with Ijaz Butt gone. In my opinion Amir is getting targetted because he is trying to do things as per the law in a land where no law exist. Therefore Salman Butt and Asif can shamelessly be TV "experts" but Amir cannot even play club cricket. If Amir was a cheat from the core no team (Surrey, etc) would trust him to be in their team. I am not justifying Amir's wrongdoing and 5 years is just punishment, however it is a bit of a joke that the other two also get the same punishment. Salman Butt had to be banned for life for destroying Amir's career. The truth is Amir never gave evidence against Butt and now will have to suffer more than the rest.

  • testli5504537 on June 26, 2011, 5:35 GMT

    An excellent blog obviously submitted by someone who truly cares. I hope your comments do not simply fall on deaf ears.

    He should be the president of Pakistan oneday Insa-Allah

  • testli5504537 on June 18, 2011, 15:11 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi for PCB chairman!!!

  • testli5504537 on June 16, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    I dont agree with the author's prejudice about the PCB. I know that the PCB, being a part of the government is as bad as any other institution in the country, but there are quite a few things that the PCB and Butt are doing and have done. They have handled the fixing episode well.They supported the players when they had to and now have supported the ban.They have appointed a captain and stood by his immature antics when they had to and now they are standing by discipline. Afridi is not bigger than the game. All important support positions to the team are occupied by x players of the country. That is more than what many other boards can claim to have done.While everybody want to nail the PCB for all ills faced by the Team, the success of the team seems to be wholly the effort of the captain. Shouldn't the PCB get a little bit of recognition for that ?The PCB is much maligned, mostly for many stupid deeds,but they have stuck it out and they need to be supported for lack of choice.

  • testli5504537 on June 14, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    Ijaz butt should be kicked out, he destroy his own team, took out some of star players like Akhter, Afridi and Razzaq. There is no entertainment, you just don't want to see Pakistan team now.

  • testli5504537 on June 13, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    @Adeel, I agree there and it is a very unfortunate set of circumstances that have led to such a wonderful raw talent to be lost but in many ways it also says a lot about how the PCB and the players (especially the seniors) act . Kids like Aamer needed the guidance of seniors like Younis, Yousuf and Afridi or managers like Intikhab Alam but when they are busy fighting amongst themselves the youngsters are left to fend on their own.

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