Pakistan Cricket 
Pak’s Cricket Board Woes, The Need for Competent Leaders, Not Politicians

LEENA MOIN AZIZ/ The Friday Times | 26/01/2024

Courtesy: The Friday Times

Text Size:  

Like winning, losing is also a habit. Much like the habitual desire to have tea or coffee every morning, if you do not consume your daily dose of caffeine in the morning, your body refuses to function.

Similarly, some teams cannot seem to function if they do not win. Others, unfortunately, develop an unhealthy clockwork-like convention of always turning up short.

These days, the Pakistan national cricket team, which is replete with an abundance of individually brilliant talent, seems as if they cannot gel and form a winning unit.

The Men In Green appear to have forgotten how to return to their winning ways. As a result, they slump ever deeper into the dark depths of despair, as if they have fallen under the spell of an evil witch.

When I delve deeper into Pakistan cricket, my Shakespearean side often takes control over my logical side, but can you blame me if the witches and wizards who inhabit the Qaddafi stadium are relentlessly slumping cricket into dark ages whereby they are in a way responsible for my despair and shape-shifting after all!

Too much instability at the helm of affairs is why Pakistan can't win anything substantial.

All I remember from the past two years are losses that have broken my heart, both as a cricket expert and an ardent fan of this sport.

My heart will never recover from those metalled road-like pitches and an entire season of losses and despair when we lost to Australia and England at home under Babar Azam. We were roundly thrashed three-zip by both the touring parties. 

We have witnessed a drought of winning moments for the past two years. Victories have become as rare a sighting as that of the Eid moon, with solitary wins sandwiched between long, dry and winless patches.

Of course, when Pakistan loses, we become sad as a nation. But it is important to understand why a hugely talented side such as Pakistan does not win as often as it should.

I believe there are many reasons for the current winless streak the boys in dark green find themselves in. These reasons exist on and off the field, and in an amalgamation, they are sinking the only source of joie de vivre of an entire nation.

The biggest reason for this current below-par showing extremely evident, I believe, is the incompetence at the very top, those who have been running Pakistan's cricket. 

I have said time and again that cricket should remain independent of politics, and the ruling political parties, irrespective of the flavour, should stay clear of cricket.

Our luck, though, is quite au contraire. The day a party finds itself in a position of power, it seems that the first order of their business is to name a new chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). It is absurd, mindless and a murder of the sport we love, and it's the main reason for the cricket team's nose-diving performances.

A politician can be the worst possible choice to become the chief of the top cricketing body in the country. The person running cricket affairs should be a gentleman or lady who is an authority on cricket, with a background in cricket, not a self-proclaimed cricket guru from the political clans in Pakistan

I urge Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari to leave cricket alone and concentrate on improving the situation in the country. In my book, these politicians and their cronies have done no favours to the country. Inflation, brain drain, and lack of good policies are a few reasons amongst many why Pakistan is far behind the rest of the world. They are responsible for this state of the country, so how can they be expected to run cricket affairs seamlessly?

Suppose I am a doctor and cannot put on two stitches smoothly. How will I be able to perform surgery without endangering the life of my patients?

Hence, a politician can be the worst possible choice to become the chief of the top cricketing body in the country if it must be someone competent from the cricket galaxy who is an authority on cricket.

Another matter we never seem to pay any attention to is the second-tier management at the PCB. These men and women seem to enjoy great power but appear exempt from any accountability. What exactly is their job? Do the media and the public know?

When it comes to accountability for poor management decisions, we only see a revolving door placed outside the chairman's office. But little is known about what happens to other highly influential officials entrenched in the PCB?

What can then be a solution for our cricketing woes?

I believe that right now, the county as a whole is in dire straits. Nothing is functioning the way it should. Rather, it is by some miracle that we still have a country on the world map. However, one sincerely hopes that once Pakistan starts functioning smoothly again, there will be accountability for the rich and poor alike.

One hopes that honest and well-intentioned intellectuals rise to become the rulers instead of being suppressed by respective parties. Similarly, one hopes that cricket too will start to function like it did when Air Marshal Noor Khan helmed affairs.

For now, I am an extremely disgruntled connoisseur of cricket. As things stand, I see no light at the end of this tunnel unless horses replace the mules.

It is human nature to look for positivity; hence, ignoring the chaos at home — whether politics or sports — I am setting my sights on the India vs England test series. I hope the English players are granted visas, and India plays some good cricket on the field instead of mind games to win and to make this series exciting.

Hyderabad, I cannot wait to see some exciting cricket in whites, counting seconds and not minutes.

(This article was first published by The Friday Times, Pakistan). 

No comments found.