Osman Samiuddin
Sportswriter at the National

Bloodied but breathing

A year on from the horrors of Lahore, a Karachi tournament shows that the game is alive and well - despite the bumbling of the PCB

Osman Samiuddin

March 3, 2010

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

A young Pakistani is enraged with the PCB over the team's performance in Australia, Karachi, January 29, 2010
No administration has lower stock internationally than the current PCB © AFP
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Players/Officials: Ijaz Butt | Rashid Latif
Teams: Pakistan

Tonight, exactly a year to the day from the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, Rashid Latif will hand out what is the highest prize money ever seen in Pakistan, to the winners of the Karachi Champions League (KCL).

It is not even for a domestic, city-based tournament. The KCL is even more local than that; the KCL is a Twenty20 event for the top Karachi club sides. The tournament was run with the city government's help, across much of Karachi, and televised. The marketing was smart, local and direct, aiming to call out localities and mohallas, and so it was avidly followed; good crowds turned up most days and during the final last week, at least 10,000 came to watch. It was a fair old mela - men, women, children, families, VIPs and local celebs sitting till well past one in the morning, on a weeknight, all to watch a club match in which the biggest names were probably Mohammad Sami and Faisal Iqbal.

Mostly the tournament was impeccably organised and it attracted more people to club matches than in the heyday of club cricket in Pakistan, from the 50s right through to the 70s. The winning club, Airport Gymkhana, will get Rs 10 million, unprecedented finance for a club. Runners-up and semi-finalists will not complain either.

Latif, as ever, isn't thinking small. The city government, with whom he is well-placed, put up funds this year. Private sponsors will be sounded out next year; the league may even go national. It might not work, it might be too ambitious, even if an old law of Pakistan is to never bet against Latif. But Latif is highlighting a way forward, by looking to invest locally in order to buffer for the hard days ahead. At the KCL, cricket was far from dead. In fact it has not felt more alive in the last year.

Just days after the attack last year, the PCB got into a slanging match with one of the men caught in it, Chris Broad, accusing him of lying about security being lax. The PCB chairman claimed there hadn't been a security lapse. By March 9, Butt was saying teams would tour Pakistan again in six to nine months.

It is almost needless to add that no one was arrested, no one was blamed for it and no one was sacked; Wasim Bari, who was the board's director, HR and administration, and thus involved in the security, even got promoted to COO. Even after it later emerged that the PCB wanted the Test to be played in Karachi not Lahore because of security concerns in Punjab, no one got it.

When such depths have been trodden, little brightness can emerge. Admittedly, there is little the board can do about attracting teams to Pakistan currently. The security situation in the country is not in their hands, and now even Karachi has been hit, leaving no major metro untouched; but while physical isolation is unavoidable, spiritual isolation is not.

The PCB's financial plight is desperate and not all of it is their fault. But what idea have they produced to try and overcome that? In one year, what scheme have they devised to fight this other than to crib about it?

Yet no administration has lower stock in international cricket than this PCB one. If they are not openly disliked, they are laughed at and avoided. Only the ECB has helped them out and the English board will probably benefit more from that arrangement, but which other board has? Where is Pakistan in the next FTP? Nowhere.

How could it be any other way, given how they have acted? The board has systematically gone about squandering what could've been genuine sympathy and help after Lahore. The legal fight with the ICC over the 2011 World Cup was wholly unnecessary. In hindsight the PCB will argue that the money they got at the end of it was needed, but there were ways of obtaining that diplomatically, without pissing off your neighbours by trying to piss on their parades. No favours will come soon from India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, not with Butt in charge.

Some sympathy may well be due over the exclusion of players from the IPL this season. The board was only looking after its players in trying to ensure they could take part. The IPL, the franchises, Lalit Modi, the Indian government - apparently none of them stiffed the players, but someone surely did. But even that sympathy was lost over the decision to snub the Champions League. This tournament is not organised solely by the BCCI; there are two other boards involved. It might not be played in India this year. It has seven of the world's top nine nations participating in it. Bangladesh is the only other Test-playing country with no representative in it.

Here was a chance to again reinforce Pakistan's presence on a global stage, to make the statement that they are alive, well and part of this new world of cricket. Here was a chance to lobby CA and CSA, the two other bodies behind the league, maybe try and form some alliances. But speaking to senior officials in the board over the last few weeks, it was apparent few of them even knew what the tournament is, what it entails, who it is run by, what opportunities it offers. So Butt refused, citing the IPL snub as the primary reason. Here is further proof, if needed, that this administration knows nothing of the way the world of cricket is currently operating.

There also seems little will in their interactions with the ICC task force set up to help them cope with the loss of international cricket at home. At the first meeting in December, one member of the force said the board was more interested in talking about how much money they were losing rather than in discussing ways in which that could be lessened. The PCB's financial plight is desperate and not all of it is their fault. But what idea have they produced to try and overcome that? In one year, what scheme have they devised to fight this other than to crib about it? If Javed Miandad is to be believed, a West Indian XI of former and current players had almost agreed to come to Pakistan for a series of matches, only for the board's apathy to pole-axe it. What a coup that could have been.

Airport Gymkhana, winners of the 2010 Karachi Champions League Twenty20 tournament pose with their trophy, March 2010
The Karachi Champions League brought in bigger crowds than did games in the heyday of club cricket in Pakistan, from the 50s through to the 70s © Karachi Champions League

From any viewpoint, any angle or perspective, Butt's board has been the worst equipped to deal with the fallout of Lahore.

Understandably, given the madness of those days, the immediate concerns were extreme ones: Cricket might die in the country. Kids would become terrorists if not cricketers. At a distance now, the worries are not quite so exacerbated. If there is one thing Pakistan and Pakistanis do exceedingly well, it is to deal with the aftermath of terror and suicide bombings.

We adjust. Sure, there is mayhem and insanity in the aftermath, but after a while life goes on as it must. Expectations are adjusted, scaled back, but things move on. It can seem cold and numbing to the outsider but it is an automatic survival mechanism, a means to cope. In more fashionable countries and cities it is called resilience.

In that sense, the death of cricket in Pakistan seems an overblown concept. It will not die here, just as the country will not die; it will take, in fact, the demise of the country to take cricket down, so much a part of the identity one is of the other. Neither will a lack of cricket lead kids to terror, for there are many, many other factors that go into that process. Like life, cricket here has always adjusted; tape ball cricket in streets is but one example.

What of those, the question is often asked, who will be deprived of watching cricket in stadiums? Well, counting heads at a ground has long ceased to be an effective method of measuring the depth of our involvement with cricket, especially in bigger cities, where the experience long ago moved to TV. Smaller cities like Faisalabad are the only ones where stadiums could be filled anyway, so what effect a lack of cricket will have on fans who weren't turning up to watch at most stadiums anyway is not fully known.

A cursory visit to parks, maidans, neighbourhood streets, to teashops, to people's lounges and drawing rooms, will reveal that cricket still means as much to the Pakistani as it ever did. Probably the Sydney Test loss did more to put people off the game, and the reaction to that loss, overheated as it was, in a perverse way was a heartening sign. People cared still, ever more strongly, about the game.

International cricket will not be here for a while, that has mostly been accepted, and if it hasn't then it must be. The myth that cricket would never be attacked was, in retrospect, a particularly fragile one; after all, why wouldn't militants hit cricket as a target? There are few better ways to attract attention in Pakistan.

The last decade here has been scarred by security-related pullouts anyway, and people have slowly adjusted to that reality. Some can still remember that it has been better than the sixties, when even less was played here, and Pakistan recovered from that admirably in the following decade. All is not lost.

The KCL proved that crowds in Pakistan are very much like crowds anywhere else in the cricket-playing world: give them Twenty20 cricket, in the evenings when they are free, with some lights, noise and music and they will flock

That is not to say, however, that this might not change. For cricket to be deeply shaken, the very character of the country will have to change, and lord knows the one thing this war on terror may well eventually do, if it goes on long enough, is change that very thing.

On the off chance that you arrived in Karachi this week, you would struggle to find out that the PCB's most popular, financially lucrative domestic tournament was underway in the city and that all the country's top stars were playing in the city. If you had come a week ago, you'd very much know the KCL was happening, even if only a few of Karachi's top stars played in the league.

On TV, on billboards, in newspapers, on most people's tongues, the KCL was a masterpiece of the hard sell: direct, localised marketing. The KCL proved that crowds in Pakistan are very much like crowds anywhere else in the cricket-playing world: give them Twenty20 cricket, in the evenings when they are free, with some lights, noise and music and they will flock. Let them know it is happening and they will come, even if there are not so many big names.

Mostly, the KCL proved that if you have the will, vision and connections - Latif being so close to the previous city government helped him immensely - then few things are impossible in this land. Few people are as well-connected as a PCB chairman, given that they are a direct appointment of the President of Pakistan, and yet how under-utilised that connection - ill-advised as it is - remains. Better to scrap the appointment system altogether, avoid the sports ministry and corporatise the whole thing.

The KCL will not pull Pakistan cricket from its current predicament, not overnight anyway. But it shows a way. Other than the production of Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer and another successful U19 side, it is the most emphatic sign that cricket is alive and breathing here. Cricket can survive, and possibly even thrive, until the rest of the country sorts itself out, the KCL says. You just have to know how. Rest assured, it will not be this abomination of an administration that takes note.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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Posted by   on (March 6, 2010, 15:29 GMT)

excellent article on the state of pak cricket.

Posted by   on (March 6, 2010, 4:13 GMT)

what have you ever done besides cribbing yourself. you write about pakistan as if you are ignorant about pakistan , a foreigner would have done a better job criticizing PCB,,your love for BUTT is obvious.KCL , ha ..what a joke,I think the whole tournament did nothing but made a mockery of the nation, if one player ever plays for pakistan from that bunch of teams than i would take my comments back and offer you an apology, 1 crore, another big joke, just to make it the biggest of the biggest prize moneu ever made, sounds more like how we have one of the biggest hospitals , is it really?That low a tournament is the best we can do? how pathetic! this is all just so messedup and you are a part of that mess. sorry mate.

Posted by ksmani on (March 5, 2010, 20:51 GMT)

great article !! osman and kamran are the greatest writers since mark twain and charles dickens !!

Posted by maddy20 on (March 5, 2010, 12:26 GMT)

As long as the Pakistani government cannot effectively tackle terrorism once and for all, I wouldn't be surprised if this kind of things happen again. About a dozen terrorists with automatic weapons were waiting in ambush and no one could see/report to the authorities and like you not even one terrorist was caught/killed. Denying this was not a security lapse is ludicrous just like Pakistan's cricket tour of Australia. They need some one like Modi to bail them out of this mess.

Posted by   on (March 5, 2010, 6:57 GMT)

beautiful, thorough article Mr. Osman ! Its really a great idea for events like KCL and RBS to be going on while the country is dealing with this terrorism thing that is being sponsored by the very enemies of Pakistan. but no matter what, Pakistan will definitely rise and once again become the team that all fear of INSHALLAH. hard times come on every country and we will definitely survive INSHALLAH. this comes from a patriotic Pakistani and ofcourse WE RISE AGAIN. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD !!

Posted by straight6 on (March 5, 2010, 0:35 GMT)

I think it's good for Pak Cricket that Mohsin Khan has come back from the bewilderness, he was a cricketer who performed well, especially under the captaincy of Imran. He was commited to his game and he can bring good qualities back to pak cricket. I'm certain on one thing and that is, he will find the quality batsmen we so desire to see in our Test arena. I definately think our Test performances will improve and some of that success will carry onto the One-day side, but I'm not all that sure about our T/20 team. I think he might not be as succesfull as we would want him to be in this format. I think we need someone mature to captain the T/20 side and with the recent T/20 competition going on, it will definately help to select a new captain and good side for the T/20 World Cup in West-Indies. As regards to revive Test Match cricket at home then I think it's possible, but PCB needs to seek help from a couple of Cricket Boards, like England and Sri-Lanka. Pakistan Zindabad!!!

Posted by nkkashmiri on (March 5, 2010, 0:15 GMT)

While as I strongly support the immediate ouster of Ijaz Butt and his cohorts, there is another, deeper issue plaguing pakistani cricket and that is the absence of test quality, solid batsmen. All of us know that there are no opening batsmen of any merit compared to what rest of world has ( India's Sehwag/Ghambir arguably the best in the world, followed by Strauss & Cook for England, Smith for SA, Watson, Hughes, Katich for Aus, Dilshan for SL ). Again in middle order India & Australia have the best batting( Dravid,Sachin,Laxman, Yuvraj & Ponting, Hussey, Clarke). Even with Yunus and Yusuf, Pakistan is much weaker, and, to be honest, both are past their best and Yunus in particular is woefully out of form and has been for some time now. Lets accept that it is far behind top teams in the world in one area that is most important to the current game. And then, put in place a robust sytem including best batting coaches available from the world to aim at levels where India or Australia is

Posted by   on (March 4, 2010, 21:02 GMT)

Dear Osman, I really like ur articles. This happens to be one of them. Though I m an Indian, I feel sorry for the state Pak's cricket is in. I agree with most of your points. Hope Pak's cricketing future gets better soon and we can have the tense yet interesting cricketing battle resumes ASAP.


Posted by Aahd on (March 4, 2010, 20:53 GMT)

Totally agree with Osman on the present establishment in the cricket board, and about Sydney test doing more damage to the will of Pakistani cricket fans than the lack of international cricket in Pakistan. Worst thing about Sydney was that our players didn't care about the pride they were crushing...things went from bad to worse after that. I've got a brother in Sydney was has been teased about Afridi not having enough apples in Pakistan. We've been insulted deeply and worse still, we all fear that most people in our surroundings would stoop to the level of our representative team if put in the same position...money matters more to most here, not pride and certainly not patriotic thoughts so yah, hope is hard to come by at the moment. Ask again in 3-4 months, not before that. For now and for me, Pakistan cricket is dead. Maybe I'll find the passion again but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2010, 18:29 GMT)

In Reply to pakistani2daFullest ... people like him dont apreciate a thing they always criticise any positives ,like in this case here instead of apriciating an effort from karachi city govt to restore cricket in the metropolitan city of 17 million hez crying about rashid latif & a political party called mqm ..now could any one tell me that y bring politics to sports..now cmon mr pakistani2dafullest grow up and try some thing positive in ur city n region like the city govt of karachi did ..use ur energy to promote the game or else hold ur breath

Posted by ArjunPandit on (March 4, 2010, 16:28 GMT)

Great Article Mr. Osman, i am indian fan but loves to see pakistani cricketers, Pakistan cricket seriously needs a savior like Mr. Rashid or may be Mr Imran Khan. Some of the comments are really stupid , if some one is doing a good job let him do it, but these people are like crabs, if some one is going up they wants them to pull it down, they are never happy for any one doing good work.You go on Mr Rashid all real cricket fans are behind you all over the world.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2010, 15:42 GMT)

well these types of tournaments should be organized at country level to pick out new talent Afridi should be made captain atleast in ODIs. His aggressive approach suits. And the way he buck up guys, he deserved to be the captain. Definitly all teams had bad patch and all. I hope Pakistan team will get their winning form back soon, InshaAllah.

Posted by drcardio1980 on (March 4, 2010, 8:51 GMT)

Besides this all if Pakistani cricket is to be revived Shahid Afridi needs to be made captain in all formates.Pakistan needs a captain aggressive enough & hungry for success.He is far better test crickter than many so called test players in the team today.His test record proves it.He can make huge impact in test cricket.He has batting average in excess of 35 & his bowling is exceptional.In the end he needs to control some of his dodgy instincts like biting etc..

Posted by   on (March 4, 2010, 5:29 GMT)

Great post Osman. Agreed on Butt. He needs to be butted out. Glad to know that KCL got a good reception. Wondering about the turnout for the RBS T20 tournament? Go Dolphins!

Also, what are your thoughts on Mohsin and Waqar as Chief Selector and Coach respectively?

Posted by   on (March 4, 2010, 5:20 GMT)

Great post Osman. Ignore the troll.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 23:23 GMT)

Dear Usman.Well done.My name is Nadeem Yousuf Former First Class Cricketer played from 1975 to 1988.I Had 10th wicket partnership create in 1981-82 seson.I am the first pakistan to score double century after Following-on and my Partner Maqsood Kundi(Pakistan Under-19 player tour india 1979 to score century at No.11.Now i based in usa working for cricket council usa based in Florida.What Rashid Latif did.I hats off to him.I know him very well he is patoritict for pakistan.what he has done should be done by our leader.I can tell you there is no world cricket witout Pakistan.We have change ourself/System is not there our cricket is in hand of old metality people they are joy rider.They dame care about pakistan and cricket.Our talent come from poor to middle class people and our ledrer are rich so they want to be in power.Karachi is heart of pakistan so pls don't destroy it.We have everythings to cherish.I LOVE TO DO GOOD FOR PAKISTAN CRICKET but what happen to my career..

Posted by Zohaib.R.Q. on (March 3, 2010, 23:05 GMT)

pakistan has already produced greats.. in akmal bro's, amer and then we see them goin down the drain like sohail tanvir thx to the pcb :P

Posted by knowledge_eater on (March 3, 2010, 22:35 GMT)

Flush the ignorance down the toilet, and start doing favor for sake of People. People don't realize that people who are governing all this have already fired or ruined life of many people. Most of them are made up of really thick rigid mind. If I know any history of Pakistan,there are lot of people on top post, who can flush out thousands of poor individuals without even thinking of mercy for a sec. Or may be they never have 100% control, due to severe political competition or govt. lust So, by saying that the time has come to be less rigid and let loose. Stop manipulating lives. By saying that here are my tips: Stop freaking out if you loose a tournament. Its a sport. Not a war. Sometimes, loosing is winning, if the game has been played gracefully. I have seen for last 10 years I guess, when ever I see Pak. loosing, people are like oooh oooh oooh we lost we lost, we gotta do something we have to point fingers .. you did it no, not me you did it. Stop doing that. Its childish. Peace

Posted by AliOnline on (March 3, 2010, 22:34 GMT)

stupid people will always complain. The guy organized a pretty good tournament, and you idiots still complain! See this as a start, as an example; let us build on this, expand and better the tournaments. That's how you develop! Not with people who simply live to complain!

Posted by Jarr30 on (March 3, 2010, 21:53 GMT)

Reagrdless if Mr Butt is the chairman or not, PCB is without doubt the MOST unprofessional sporting organisation in the world.

Posted by fk2000 on (March 3, 2010, 19:30 GMT)

I just want to point out in response to someone's comment below, that MQM is not a "terrorist" organization. They are the elected government of Karachi, and are responsible for the majority of the development work done in the city during the past decade. MQM is the third largest political party of Pakistan and the second largest of Sindh. The tournament was not only for "their supporters" but for the people of Karachi. MQM is disliked by right wing parties and their supporters but I suggest that we keep this discussion board limited to cricketing matters. Also, Rashid Latif was banned for claiming a catch that was dropped in Bangladesh. He apologized for the matter and was fined. I think that incident was over 7 years ago if I'm not mistaken. Since that time he has created a cricket academy in Karachi which is unique and much appreciated by the people of the city. He put a lot of effort into creating the academy and I think he should be commended for it. Thanks

Posted by GoMushGo on (March 3, 2010, 18:58 GMT)

One of the best, far reaching, in depth article I have seen and not to mention "most realistic" article on the current affairs of Pakistan Cricket and where it stands in Pakistan. Our dislike for MQM aside, this was a great effort by KCL and Latif and I am not even from Karachi. I believe if we truly do want to survice then dissolving the current PCB board and fully make it into a corporate entity will be the only way forward. Businesses still thrive in war torn countries as businessmen know how to adapt and cash in on the reality rather than the dictates from the top. In our case, it is not even the dictates from the top but the person appointed to run the PCB. Some one who "forgot" that Pakistan had invited Windies-11 and does not even know the Champions league format or who is running it, is the not the right man to take us into this next decade. Well done, Osman!-Great write-up!

Posted by hoodbu on (March 3, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

Well written Osman. I'm increasingly appreciating your articles. However, I must mention that although this KCL tournament drew greater crowds than in the 70's, the population has also ballooned. If you want to compare with historical following, just look at field hockey. That sport used to be followed more than cricket. We used to be World Champions and Olympic gold medalists. Most importantly, it was followed and played more commonly on the streets than cricket. But once we were unable to compete at higher levels, the interest dropped. And now who follows hockey in Pakistan?

Ominously, cricket may follow the same route. It can happen. One tournament won't make a difference.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 15:41 GMT)

Getting rid of Butt is not gonna change anything. Its the Cricket Board that matters not individuals. How much influence does the PCB has, how much money it can generate etc. As far as the team is concerned what has sects and religion got to do with cricket. The overall team environment needs to be corrected.

Posted by pakistani2daFullest on (March 3, 2010, 15:38 GMT)

@Ianchappelfan...you forgot Rashid Latif is not the most honest as he was banned for lying about a catch he did not make! Also this article fails to mention that this tournament was organised by a terrorist organization MQM for only those that support their cause! It is a shameful exclusionary tournament and a mentality!

Posted by Divinetouch on (March 3, 2010, 15:18 GMT)

quote form the article 'It is almost needless to add that no one was arrested, no one was blamed for it and no one was sacked'

sums it up.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 15:11 GMT)

I was a great fan of Pakistan cricket and hardly had missed to watch Pak matches. But now I have no interest to watch any cricket match, thanks to the PCB chairmen (current and past) and thanks to the Selection Board. Much to say about pakistan cricket, so many incidents that had happened which spoiled pak name. Afridi's ball tempering incident, Asif's dubai incident, Shoaib Akhter's misconducts.... and so on... and embarrassingly we still see these players in Pakistan squad... this is PCB. I remember Warne was banned for a year for testing positive on a ban substance despite being the greatest bowler in history of cricket. Pakistan board has inconsistent decisions.. take a decision against a player and then reverse it after a few months. First, unless PCB is cleaned, nothing is expected to be improved. Second, selection criteria needs improvement and it must give chance to the new talent. It must be competitive in way so every player has fear of being removed from sqaud on poor game

Posted by nskaile on (March 3, 2010, 14:53 GMT)

its high time tht someone kick Ijaj Butt out of PCB! and ur dead right about wht Ijaj said after attack that Broad is lying. how does he knw Broad was lying when he was just sitting in his office and Braod was in the middle of crisis? how can someone be soo arrogent? b/w im from india and i really hope pakistan govt get rid of these terrorist cuz they r not only hurting pakistan but also india, actually they just start doin attacks their after Us asked Pak to get rid of taliban, india ben suffring from this from many years. and really good article. one of the best article i read in long time. Aamer and Umar Akmal gonna be great players in future. and god bless all the ppl who lost their loved ones in this this war against terrror

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (March 3, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

Changing Ejaz Butt won't make any difference at all. Its like taking Pakistan cricket out of one jail cell and putting in to an other one. We cursed them all be it Ejaz Butt, Nassem Ashraf, the general or any one before them. Until the next replacements are equally corrupt and incompetent, changes won't serve any purpose. In my view Miandad, Ilyas, Ejaz and Bari all must go but then it should be Ehsam Mani, Amer Sohail, Rashid Latif sort of people who should be brought in to run the affairs and not some one who zardari wants to oblige for political reasons . Whole the nation wants to get rid of incompetent administrators and players, every one wants Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal and their uncles and paps in-laws to disappear from the scene

Posted by Stingrayopp on (March 3, 2010, 12:38 GMT)

Assalamulaikum Osman vhai, in my little memory with fair opinion that to inhale the fresh, neat clean breath forever for Pakistan cricket, it should be elected the matured, educated, decent professional and especially the true honest heart of Patriotism persons to become the cricket officials. Those officials could read the cricketers' mind with deep concentration how to treat logically. In order to save historic glory days the past cricket of Pakistan, all the current & future players should be maintained & chained in true deep loving Patriotism, Ultra-disciplined, Extremely energetic industrious stamina, Realistic fair professionalism character, Punctuality, Well-behave with great respect each other and while playing in the field to express their mental-psychology thoughts honestly.

Posted by Shahzad_Tirmizi on (March 3, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

Excellent article Usman I want to reply VINODKD99; 1st of all thanks 4 being so concerned about Pakistan cricket. I don't agree with u that only 2-3 Pakistani players are good enough to play at international level. I think u don't know Pakistan cricket too much otherwise u would have known that the biggest reason of Pakistan's poor performance recently is team politics & Ijaz Butt is incharge of the affairs so he's being blamed by the Pakistani fans. Mr Butt keeps changing captains & he never backs the captain he appoints. So 3-4 different players are fighting for captaincy & certain groups within the team are supporting these players. I hope u will understand now.

Posted by Nrao786 on (March 3, 2010, 11:19 GMT)

The issue is with Ad hoc rule which is supreme in Pakistan. This system ensures the best man never usually gets the job deserved.....hence, why we have bubbling Ijaz Butt. Sure in days gone by, when cricket used to take care of itself - his ineffectiveness or idiosyncratic ways may have been hidden but not today!

I'd agree not all cricketing issues can be blamed on him, however, he is responsible of how the PCB is perceived internationally. Sure you need to be firm in your stand and principles but diplomacy is the international tongue....saying wot ur thinking all the time doesn't help..

Pak's lack of cricket is hurting their abilities in Test cricket the most. The fact they can still be competitive on their day in ODI's and 20/20 is amazing, if u look at their poor poor structure.

For sure Pak cant challenge the top four in Tests, but if you compare the organizational structure and support staff its no surprise either.....

Only plus, is talent still emerges from Pak!

Posted by ianChappellFan on (March 3, 2010, 11:02 GMT)

here's an idea, why not make rashid latif the pcb president, after he seems to be the only honest guy from that era, when everyone else was making match fixing money (including allegedly waqar and saeed anwar). he was the whistle blower, even though it meant losing his place in the side.

Posted by ianChappellFan on (March 3, 2010, 11:00 GMT)

i hated butt till now mostly becasue of his press statements and his ugly face, but this article gives me many more credible reasons to hate him, wonderful article.

Posted by AdeelTheDeal on (March 3, 2010, 10:44 GMT)

Another good article from Osman. I want to put one thing here regarding Afridi.....when did he last played in an international match as a captain, if I remember it was against NZ in UAE. He will be playing as a captain in T20 WC and still he is not given captaincy in domestic T20 tournament. This is not understandble. Afridi is a new captain, no body is perfect in any thing untill he practice. I think Afridi should participate as a captain from Karachi team in recent T20 tournament.

Posted by manta007 on (March 3, 2010, 10:31 GMT)

Dear All, I am a follower of cricinfo and in other posts I have seen pretty harsh comments on Indians by Pakistanis and vice versa. Though I am Indian, I have always loved watching Pakistan playing but they are very inconsistent. I think PCB's management is extremely poor. Any young bowler would learn a lot watching Asif, Gul but others are lacking the fire power, and with recent political and terrorist issues in the country I dont think citizen of the country are well served.

Posted by vinodkd99 on (March 3, 2010, 9:26 GMT)

This has nothing to with this article. But I am of the belief how much Pakistan fans want Mr Ijaz Butt's head. What baffles me is whether they hold him responsible for the results they had over the past year or so. But my question to those irate fans would be : Is Pakistan team competent enough to come up with better sort of results. How many players from Pakistan team can walk into a good International team? I do not feel more than 2 or at most 3. Almost all the players from the current are being dropped on account of poor form for a couple of matches, just to be reinstated at the cost of others and this musical chair stuff is going on and on. So in case Pakistan players play so poorly to the extent of getting bundled regularly on scores around 150 or so, what can Mr Butt do. He can simply wish his namesake opener from Pakistan team and his mates play well upto International standards.

Posted by D.M.Qureshi on (March 3, 2010, 9:23 GMT)


Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 9:23 GMT)

I dont think Ijaz Butt is doing that bad. He is way better than Naseem Ashraf, who just wasted PCB money and all the players were unhappy with him. Ijaz Butt is doing what ever he can do, he got Waqar Younis now, he tried his best to convince Younis Khan to stay as captain, only for the sake of Pakistan Cricket. Now, the best thing he is doing is not listing to people who are saying to ban Afridi after "Ball Eating" incident. If, he was stupid and not in favor of Pakistan cricket, he would have banned Afridi for some time or not given him captaincy. He knows, Afridi is the best person for the job and he is sticking to him. I rackon, Ijaz butt is ok. Much better than Naseen Ashraf

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 9:06 GMT)

I have a concern regarding the way Domestic T20 cricket is run in Pakistan. All the T20 competitions were either held in Karachi or in Lahore, with three matches in a day which means stadium is almost empty for the first 2 matches of the day and the stadium fills up only in the last few days of the tournament. All the tournaments either last 4 or 8 days. All this seems to be mismanagement because cricket does not have any competition in Pakistan from other for sponsors. I think PCB should give proper protocol to cricket and invest in it. The matches should be held all over Pakistan in cities like Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan. Because there is no other cricket in Pakistan after all because of security situation.

Posted by D.M.Qureshi on (March 3, 2010, 8:54 GMT)

In Pakistan people have no shame look at Intakhab Alam, I have been writing in different blog like this one that the rootcause to the decline of out National team was the coach. And I was only one of very very few people who raised this point. But Alam did'nt quit either till he got stick. I would rather say that he was more of a scapegoat to cover the inefficiencies and incompetence of fart Ijaz Butt. But yet coach was the cause of the disastrous decline in the performance of Pakistan's team once considered to be a formibable in world cricket.And yet cricket board has come up with one more dumb desicion by appointing Waqar as the coach,although I personnally am a great admirer and fan of Waqar,for what he have done for Pakistancricket during his brilliant career as a geniune fast bowler but the poor guy has no credentials and experience of coaching. I hope he dose'nt end up to be despised and hated by paki fans like ALAM but most probably and most likely that is what is gonna happen.

Posted by Moin.Pasha on (March 3, 2010, 8:53 GMT)

Great article Osman.

Truely reflection of the present condition and politics in pakistan

Posted by rzi-BDML on (March 3, 2010, 8:29 GMT)

Exactly the voice of Pakistan, Mr. Osman, This is juz not understandable that y is the PCB is not thinking the way we, the TRUE PAKISTANIS think? Y the President is not taking any action against Mr. Butt? Lets hope for the best. I think T20 World cup will be the last assignment of this Board.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 8:09 GMT)

excellent article Osman, you have narrate the issue so well and specially Ijaz Butt who is putting all his efforts to destroy Pakistan cricket, such a useless person to have as Chairman PCB just because he has relation with influential people.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 7:49 GMT)

I am so glad you have broken shackles - of words. There is fluency as usual but there is anger and frustration aptly articulated. There is hope too which is rather subtle. I really really enjoyed reading this article. You should continue writing about serious matters so aggressively and passionately - with the hope that someone with an ounce of brain and authority will read and understand it :-)

Posted by The.Invincibles on (March 3, 2010, 7:39 GMT)

just kick out ijaz butt and wasim bari and all their mates , evrithng will be alrite . Any ways i m very hopeful cricket will always remain our passion and one proof of it is pakistan winning the recent world cup t20 n i think as long a team does gud in world cup that sport will never die in that country .. n hey great article

Posted by sherishahmir on (March 3, 2010, 7:19 GMT)

V good article and I also fully agreed that PCB should get rid off from Mr. Butt and other failed administrators like Bari etc, who are lacking managerial abilities drastically and came to power on sheer attribute of nepotism. PCB needs a good, capable & seasoned administrator, with good cricket sense & abilities, like Imran, Javed, Rameez or Mohsin Khan etc, who in the present crisis with the diplomacy and help of their neighboring cricket boards can fight the Pak case at international level and bring the international cricket back to Pakistan. Tributes to Rashid Latif, who has shown the vision of keeping cricket life alive in Pakistan by arranging the KCL and our great legend Javed Miandad on convincing the ex-players of West Indies to play cricket in Pakistan which had been refused by Mr. Butt, just on the basis of cost involved (only USD 50,000), whereas, Mr. Butt can spend million of Pak rupees on his worthless tours. I hope by the grace of Allah, very soon all of us will

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

greatt article Usman!! Pakistan has a lot of talent but unfortunately PAKISTAN has not been lucky enuff to get gud leadership. However, I think current scenario will make ppl realize that its time to wake up. Pakistan will rise again :)

Posted by Roamer on (March 3, 2010, 6:40 GMT)

As usuall excellent article Osman, I think If Ijaz Butt had any little self-respect then he should have resigned long time back, even a 12 year old kid on the streets would have taken better decisions and run the cricket affairs better. So Mr. Ijaz Butt if you are reading this please resign from the post of PCB Charimarn asap so that Cricket affairs can be run better.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

An excellent article; I enjoy reading your work, Osman. No comment on Ijaz Butt...except that he is making a fool of himself by staying on any longer as the PCB head. Here's to hoping Pakistan make it out of this..temporary setback. The world of cricket will be poorer without Pakistan.

Posted by pakipower123 on (March 3, 2010, 6:12 GMT)

Absolutely brilliant as always Osman. You are right, Butt must go. I think that PCB should be a corporation on its own as you mentioned. You need a businessman to guide the way and lead the recovery. These ex-players don't even what is going on around the world in Cricket. The funny thing is that the administration advises it's players to not speak to the media and fines them for it but what about Mr. Ejaz Butt himself. He makes ill-advised and stupid comments all the time, realizes how stupid they were and does a complete 180 and contradicts himself later. As was seen with the recent match-fixing reports. Put in businessmen who know a thing or two about how to make money. After all, cricket has become commercialized. There is tons of money in it if you are smart.

Posted by Atish_G on (March 3, 2010, 6:09 GMT)

Mr Samiuddin, in my honest opinion, currently you're far and away the best writer on Cricinfo. I think that's partly because the issues you write about are so important. You let us glimpse a nation's travails through the window of cricket. Sometimes you're despondent, and at others, hopeful. But never devoid of passion about Pakistan, its people and the cricket they love. For this I thank and salute you.

Posted by Shafaaqat on (March 3, 2010, 6:05 GMT)

I wonder why can't we hold a demonstration to remove BUTT. Over the years i have concluded that nothing can be achieved without strong demonstrations in Pakistan. We need some kind of naitonal movement to get things right. I am sure cricket would never return if we have such non-sense guys sitting at the top.

Posted by beaman on (March 3, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

brilliant work by Osman again. Pakistan cricket will never die, PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

Posted by Napster-04 on (March 3, 2010, 5:38 GMT)

Cricket is still alive in Pakistan and will be enjoyed forever but PCB needs to get rid of the current management specially Ijaz Butt. Waqar's appointment will surely help Pakistan cricket and Pakistan also needs Wasim Akram's expertise as well to overcome the current crises

Posted by Percy_Fender on (March 3, 2010, 5:31 GMT)

It is nice to read an article full of optimism and hope about Pakistan considering the problems they are facing both at cricket and as a nation. It would however be necessary not just to look for short term gains but long term ones as well. Imran Khan has often talked about there being a need for systemic improvements at the domestic level to ensure that team selections at all level are not on ad hoc basis. It cannot be denied that Pakistan is a land of old world nepotism in everything. Cricket therefore is no exception. The other thing is for their young players to be talked to by professionals to ensure that the lure of money does not disrupt their way of thinking about life. If what one hears about Umar Akmal having pretended to be unwell in espousing his brother's cause is true, then it could be understood what I mean. The Wasims,Waqars,Miandads and Imrans came up by their own motivation in playing for the country. There was very little money then.This is what is important.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 5:25 GMT)

Most of out players need eduaction.

Posted by Just_Love_Cricket on (March 3, 2010, 5:18 GMT)

Brilliant article Osman... Butt is the worst thing to happen to Pakistan cricket in all its years of existence. but he is merely a reflection of the state of government.. just take a look at the president.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 4:28 GMT)

usman bhai very nice article and it reallly highlights the situation of pakistan cricket. I being myself a PAKISTANI pray for IJAZ BUTT to leave ..But how can we expect the president to remove the chairman when he himself is in alots of political troubles may be he is not getting the time to look at cricket matters.

One of the Media Channels Held a Debate about Pakistan crickets flaws and its solutions many solutions were proposed by legends like IMRAN KHAN , ABDUL QADIR and many more but no action has been taken yet again .so we can do nothing but just to wait and watch for things to get better for PAKISTAN cricket

Posted by VivaVizag on (March 3, 2010, 4:23 GMT)

We seriously need Mr. Foot-in-Mouth Butt in charge of PCB. Otherwise, who will provide us the comic relief?

Posted by Abaa on (March 3, 2010, 3:45 GMT)

Pakistan seriously need to get rid of Ijaz Butt as chairman he really is a joke ... The way he handled the March attacks and then the World Cup issues was simply absurd! Come on Pakistan you can do better than a clown like that at the top!

Posted by VivaVizag on (March 3, 2010, 3:36 GMT)

Where are the cheerleaders ??

Posted by   on (March 3, 2010, 3:35 GMT)

Great Article Usman

And I agree with u Pakistan cricket is alive and breathing insha Allah This country will once again produce Wasim Akrams , Imran Khans ,Javed Miandads and Inzamams Pakistan cricket will never die


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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

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