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?
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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

  • omer on April 5, 2012, 6:09 GMT

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

  • zohaib 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

  • Salman Khan 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...

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

    Awesome Post. I add this Post to my bookmarks.

  • Aniruddha 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.

  • Shajahan 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

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

    Kamran Abbasi for PCB chairman!!!

  • Reddy 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.

  • Sunny 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.

  • P.Satish 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.

  • omer on April 5, 2012, 6:09 GMT

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

  • zohaib 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

  • Salman Khan 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...

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

    Awesome Post. I add this Post to my bookmarks.

  • Aniruddha 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.

  • Shajahan 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

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

    Kamran Abbasi for PCB chairman!!!

  • Reddy 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.

  • Sunny 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.

  • P.Satish 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.

  • Adeel on June 13, 2011, 5:17 GMT

    @ Satish: Azhar was about to cross the finish line of his marathon..... But Aamir was like that "ON THE MARK, GET SET GOOOO"

  • Haroon on June 12, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    Not a very smart thing to do by Aamir. To play in a meaningless game and risk further suspension. Isn't there anybody to gude him? What a shame? that so much talent is lost to Pakistani cricket.

  • md ashif khan siwan bihar on June 12, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    i want to see play again aamer in pak team this time aamer in tAOruble AAMER IS A BEST BOWLER IN WORLD ANY BOWLER NOT LIKE AAMER

  • P.Satish on June 12, 2011, 8:53 GMT

    @adeel, it was the Indian police that blew open the match-fixing scandal of the 2000s and consequently Azharuddin and Jadeja were banned for life. So we did lose a couple of bright players to match-fixing and lived with it. If such a thing happens to Kohli(or someone else from India) I know for sure he will receive very little sympathy in India. So maybe even Pakistan has to learn to move on and make something out of what they have not despair with the loss of talents like Amir and Asif.

    Anyway the other point to consider in the Amir case is the particular club which assured him that the game was not an official one. Shouldn't there be sanctions against that club too?

  • Haider Mahdi on June 12, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    I will like the previous comment of Ali. there is no way out of this silly fight. unless Imran Khan handles it.. I appreciate that there was not any captain for Amir unlike Waseem Akram. This is a mere bad luck for that talanted fellow....., and all the best we can do is getingh u[p from our seats and get the captain for Amir back................BOOM BOOM AFRIDI

  • adeel on June 12, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    @ Vishwa: will u b able to look beyond SRT after his retirement, I bet not...!!! We are not being able to look beyond aamir cause we are feeling the pinch in the heart...!!!! I would love to see ur reactions if u have lost say kohli in the similar circumstances....

  • ali on June 12, 2011, 5:23 GMT

    how can you invite ICC to save PCB, aint ICC itself a failed institute? what good has ICC done to the cricket except for providing fixings of different types? ICC is itself under BCCI, ask BCCI to take charge of PCB instead of proxy supervision. Kamran you must be sensible enough to call the right authority to intervene, ask IMRAN about your opinion of ICC intervention, he will take you by collar.

  • Vishwa on June 11, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    @Rauf: If you invite Amir to your house to play cricket in the backyard, it won't be a violation of ICC ban unless the match is officially recognized by PCB. Then, Amir is definitely in trouble...! I think, it is high time that Pakistanis look beyond Amir.

  • Rauf on June 10, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    Agreed about Butt and PCB. He must go and the next chairman should be elected not selected. This is the only way PCB can survive but will Zardari and co let go of this golden goose called PCB that easily?

    On the flip side, who will save ICC from it's own actions? If I invite Amir to my house to play cricket in my backyard, is that violation of ICC ban? Will they spend few 1000 $ to investigate it? Give me a break.

  • Srini on June 10, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    The most surprising thing in all this fracas by PCB is the complete inaction from PAK President. Is he not aware of the feedback or complaints from various quarters about PCB's conduct or simply ignoring because there are no negative ramifications to his own political future because of this.

  • anurag on June 10, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    very well written Kamran...if only there were more like you this would not happen

  • Aina on June 10, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Aamir is much easier to manage than Wasim Akram was. Wasim was lucky he had Imran Khan. If Aamir had appeared under a man like Imran Khan he would have far far surpassed even Wasim Akram's achievements. This match only happened to torture Pakistanis and tell them they haven't just lost an excellent left-arm pacer (We can still produce quite a few, albeit less overwhelmingly naturally talented than Aamir), we have lost a possibly excellent bowling all-rounder of the Imran Khan variety (and not bits-and-pieces as Imran would say). The only thing I don't understand about this is, are Surrey as stupid as Amir? Was it worth the risk to THEIR reputation by convincing a tainted bowler to play by telling him its a friendly? Because Amir can't willingly have done this; he still has much to lose, being very young and capable of playing for years after the ban ends.

  • Ajay on June 10, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Pak cricket has come to ruination and ridicule after the semi final loss to INdia. Pakistan is still feeling its repurcussions and have come out of it quickly or else everything will collapse.

  • Pulpfiction on June 10, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    A ban on Muhammad Aamir should not mean that he can't play pickup cricket. A 19 year old genius has been given a 5 year ban - that is punishment enough. This holier than thou attitude to cricket annoys me to no end. Its just a sport like all other sports!

  • Aditya on June 9, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Excellent post Kamran. I must say we Indians could learn a thing or two about being introspective from our neighbors. If the international cricket community had accused the BCCI similarly of being a politicized and corrupt organization (there is already a grain of truth to that), we Indians would have thrown a nationwide jingoistic tantrum.

  • Pulpfiction on June 9, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    A ban on Muhammad Aamir should not mean that he can't play pickup cricket. A 19 year old genius has been given a 5 year ban - that is punishment enough. This holier than thou attitude to cricket annoys me to no end. Its just a sport like all other sports!

  • SRT_GENIUS on June 9, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    Pakistan cricket fans (Indians+Pakistanis) are the only people who can save Pak cricket. Once TRPs of Pak cricket plummet, someone will take notice. Pretty sure a lot of Indians (including me) would stop watching Pak cricket if there was no Amir, Asif, Afridi, Shoaib or Razzaq. Wait... that's the case, innit ? And probably that's why I don't bother tuning in to Pak cricket anymore.

  • Adnan Ozair on June 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Kamran - Agree with you completely. So what can we do about it? Seriously. Articles like this are great to read.... but will they actually affect the decision making and direction of the ICC? How can we effect a change? How should we coerce the ICC into investigating and getting rid of Butt and the rest... There are a lot of fans of Pakistani Cricket (and they are all not Pakistani) who would be willing to collectively do something about it. A petition? A website? A facebook page?

  • TREVOR ROWLEY on June 9, 2011, 16:24 GMT

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

  • EAMiran on June 9, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    Lord Acton once wrote "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". And so it applies to our politicians,our business men, our sports boards, and our cricketers.

  • tat Barbados on June 9, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    Very well said.... and nice suggestions

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  • tat Barbados on June 9, 2011, 14:48 GMT

    Very well said.... and nice suggestions

  • EAMiran on June 9, 2011, 15:19 GMT

    Lord Acton once wrote "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". And so it applies to our politicians,our business men, our sports boards, and our cricketers.

  • TREVOR ROWLEY on June 9, 2011, 16:24 GMT

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

  • Adnan Ozair on June 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Kamran - Agree with you completely. So what can we do about it? Seriously. Articles like this are great to read.... but will they actually affect the decision making and direction of the ICC? How can we effect a change? How should we coerce the ICC into investigating and getting rid of Butt and the rest... There are a lot of fans of Pakistani Cricket (and they are all not Pakistani) who would be willing to collectively do something about it. A petition? A website? A facebook page?

  • SRT_GENIUS on June 9, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    Pakistan cricket fans (Indians+Pakistanis) are the only people who can save Pak cricket. Once TRPs of Pak cricket plummet, someone will take notice. Pretty sure a lot of Indians (including me) would stop watching Pak cricket if there was no Amir, Asif, Afridi, Shoaib or Razzaq. Wait... that's the case, innit ? And probably that's why I don't bother tuning in to Pak cricket anymore.

  • Pulpfiction on June 9, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    A ban on Muhammad Aamir should not mean that he can't play pickup cricket. A 19 year old genius has been given a 5 year ban - that is punishment enough. This holier than thou attitude to cricket annoys me to no end. Its just a sport like all other sports!

  • Aditya on June 9, 2011, 23:45 GMT

    Excellent post Kamran. I must say we Indians could learn a thing or two about being introspective from our neighbors. If the international cricket community had accused the BCCI similarly of being a politicized and corrupt organization (there is already a grain of truth to that), we Indians would have thrown a nationwide jingoistic tantrum.

  • Pulpfiction on June 10, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    A ban on Muhammad Aamir should not mean that he can't play pickup cricket. A 19 year old genius has been given a 5 year ban - that is punishment enough. This holier than thou attitude to cricket annoys me to no end. Its just a sport like all other sports!

  • Ajay on June 10, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Pak cricket has come to ruination and ridicule after the semi final loss to INdia. Pakistan is still feeling its repurcussions and have come out of it quickly or else everything will collapse.

  • Aina on June 10, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    Aamir is much easier to manage than Wasim Akram was. Wasim was lucky he had Imran Khan. If Aamir had appeared under a man like Imran Khan he would have far far surpassed even Wasim Akram's achievements. This match only happened to torture Pakistanis and tell them they haven't just lost an excellent left-arm pacer (We can still produce quite a few, albeit less overwhelmingly naturally talented than Aamir), we have lost a possibly excellent bowling all-rounder of the Imran Khan variety (and not bits-and-pieces as Imran would say). The only thing I don't understand about this is, are Surrey as stupid as Amir? Was it worth the risk to THEIR reputation by convincing a tainted bowler to play by telling him its a friendly? Because Amir can't willingly have done this; he still has much to lose, being very young and capable of playing for years after the ban ends.