Pakistan news July 15, 2011

ICC Task Team to visit Pakistan


A visit by the ICC's Pakistan Task Team (PTT) to Pakistan is on the cards, though details of the scope and nature of the trip as well as the timing are yet to be finalised. The development comes after the PTT's report on Pakistan cricket was criticised by the PCB on two counts, among others: the timing of its submission, and the observation that other than the visit of an individual member, the task team had not actually set foot in the country before putting together the report.

That criticism has especially stung the ICC though officials insist that the trip is not a direct consequence of that and had been on the cards for some time. It is unclear yet, however, who will visit and when; the Guardian reports that Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman and head of the PTT, might do so. Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, will almost certainly be part of any such delegation and has been a regular visitor to Pakistan; his last trip was just before the World Twenty20 in 2010.

What will be on the agenda is also not yet known. But it is difficult to imagine that some discussion on the broadest recommendations of the report - on the politicised nature of PCB governance and the system of appointment of the board chairman by the patron, the country's president - will not form part of it. Meetings with the highest political offices in the country will not be ruled out. The PCB will be keen to revive discussion on security matters and the return of international cricket, an issue they feel was given little space in the report.

The development has emerged at a time of growing divergence between the PCB and ICC over the 38-page report, which made 63 recommendations for what, in effect, amounts to a re-haul of the game and its governance in Pakistan. That the Pakistan board was not particularly taken in by the report was evident in their long and detailed public response - their own observations - made earlier this week. The board said the report was a "scholarly exercise" and took a dig at the fact that nobody other than Dave Richardson, the ICC's general manager and a PTT member, had even come to Pakistan. It also said the report contained factual errors and that a number of recommendations were "superfluous or redundant".

The prospect of ICC officials visiting Pakistan had been discussed earlier in meetings between the two bodies on the issue of the ICC governance-clause amendment, which calls for political interference in cricket boards to end, effectively by 2013. That was an amendment against which the PCB sent the ICC a legal notice in May, ahead of the ICC annual conference; along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the PCB is one of the boards most affected by the change.

In those meetings in Dubai before the annual conference, the two sides agreed to extend the deadline given to boards to implement the changes and the ICC expressed its willingness to visit Pakistan and discuss the changes with president Asif Ali Zardari. The clause was voted in at the annual conference without any objection from any board, though incidentally, the legal notice has not been withdrawn but lies inactive currently.

It has also emerged that the PCB was unhappy at the timing of the release of the report. The PCB had requested the ICC not to make the report public until their response to it had been submitted. The ICC, however, put the entire report online on July 6, leading the Pakistan board to go public with their own observations.

In his defence of the report, Lorgat said that the PCB's chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed had been given the report "more than a week prior to the ICC executive board meeting in Hong Kong [in the last week of June] ... and provided only minor observations which were incorporated into the final report."

The PCB disputes this version. Though officials agreed that the report was given to Ahmed, they claimed it was understood at that stage that any observations would be informal and preliminary; in fact they claimed only Ahmed was allowed to see the report and was given less than 24 hours to comment on it. "This is something the chairman needs to see and give feedback on as well as the board of governors and not just one person," a board official told ESPNcricinfo. The ICC denies this was the case.

In any case, some broad observations were given to the ICC and, by the time officials flew out to Hong Kong, incorporated in the report. The report was officially presented at the annual conference in June. At the time, PCB officials said they would respond to it with their own observations. ESPNcricinfo understands that the PCB then asked the ICC on return from the meeting "to not put the report up on the website as the board was going to prepare their observations."

That it was published before formal observations were given has upset the PCB. An ICC official said that the report had been released online because "in the interests of transparency we publish all reports." A senior Pakistani official insisted that the issue wasn't the publication of the report. "We feel they should've done it once we had officially submitted our observations. Now they say we have discredited the report with our observations."

As a fall-out of this episode, believes the PCB, the ICC has tried to limit further damage and indicated their willingness to send the PTT to Pakistan in the near future.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Riaz on July 17, 2011, 8:49 GMT

    Asking PCB to accept ICC report on governance is like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. PCB is product of the system that ICC is trying to improve. Surely one does not expect them to vote against themselves or their patron Zardari who handpicked Butt and Co.

    ICC should for sake of Cricket stand firm and side with cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan rather than cave into self centred PCB who have done enormos damage to Pakistan Cricket. PCB in present shape have no objectivity, no integrity and no public service values. It needs to go.

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2011, 22:49 GMT

    I read the entire document. It is well written. The recommendations offered to PCB are highly practical and offer fantastic solution to the rot. PCB or President would not be able to come up with the solution at their own. I am not able to understand why PCB is having issue with recommendations put together by great names and professional including PCB's own Rameez Raja. Come on PCB you must fix your house and take the advice as a advice not as a criticism.

  • Haroon on July 16, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Ok so, it seems that pakistan cricket has to suffer time and time again... If not from one allegation but another... Correct me if i am wrong , but the next club championship for Twenty20 is being held in India. The only test nation's domestic champions not taking part is pakistan... How can the former holders of the world Twenty20 cup and the Lahore badshahs won the 2008/09 Indian Cricket League 20-20 Indian Championship. I think someone in the world of cricket has to man-up and stop the isolation of pakistan cricket.

  • Rajesh on July 16, 2011, 18:04 GMT

    ICC Guys- Visit Pakistan at your peril. Make sure you are sufficiently insured. I think they should immediately ban all International Cricket matches in Pak. If Pak wants to play, let them go out and play. Life is more precious than cricket anyday

  • Pankaj on July 16, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    i am an indian, big fan of Imran Khan and Waseem bhai.. i seriosly feel that cricket should be restored in the pakistan, crazy cricket nation like india, but they also have to make sure that touring nations will be provided with top class security. we already have this one incidence of attacks on SL side, this has made other teams to seriosly avoid going to pak to play cricket. but this is making their crazy public to miss out on serios cricket.. hope everything comes to normalcy there in pakistan. with love, Pankaj, from India.

  • Abd ur Rehman on July 16, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    ICC should take strong action if Pakistan government does not separate itself from PCB issues and PCB chairman should be elected not selected.

  • Muz on July 16, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    OK here is the deal. These people are destroying Pakistan Cricket and in the process just destroying Cricket. This is all political. Cricket is one of the last remaining free-spirited activities for the Pakistanis and both their own govt. and Indian govt. via ICC are taking that away. In the long run though you only destroy the game of Cricket. Pakistan has produced some of the most exciting players. If you destroy everyone esle and call yourself #1, that doesnt mean anything. Irony is that nobody really cares about the game of cricket. Shame.

  • Cric on July 16, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    Zshan Khan, you have the most factual and realistic views expressed here. It is we Pakistanis, rather than complaing or taunting others in so many ways, have to rise to the need of the hour. Hope Pakistan people in general will understand the need to make Pakistan internally more peaceful and safe, so that we can get our old glory back. Violence in cricket the gentlemans game is the last horror anybody wants.

  • ANGARA on July 16, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    let it be known that i am an indian.without bias,i feel that making big recommendations,purely on the basis of "scholarly rhetoric",and not visiting the site is totally unjust.PCB'S reactions are on expected lines,but then the obvious injustice to PAKISTAN CRICKET will prompt any one to react like PAKISTAN to be banned forever?there have been race riots in AUSTRLIA for the past so many years.why is the ICC silent on this?BCCI too never raised this did not raise its voice now to support PAKISTAN.if this is not politics,what is? ICC and others keep talking of separating politics and sport.are they living in a fairyland?whether we like it or not politics will shape sport and its development.ICC should act smartly and diplomatically to deal with this. wake up ICC and give PAKISTAN a chance and a fair deal P.S.:I HOPE CRICINFO WILL PUBLISH THIS WITHOUT PLAYING POLITICS!

  • Khizr on July 16, 2011, 13:51 GMT

    Over last 60 years, Pakistan has given very exciting and entertaining cricket to the world and I am sure it will continue to do so in the future despite all the challenges. These problems will come and go. Given the circumstances, Pakistan is doing alright. ICC and PTT has some recommendations, some of them are very valid, and some are really academic as PCB has pointed out. You don't expect anything better from ICC, that is still need to bring its own house in order. It is business as usual, for a game that has experienced new level of economies, changing political power structures and new challenges.

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