Revamping Pakistan cricket

Inzamamul Haq has resigned as captain of Pakistan’s cricket team. Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Dr Nasim Ashraf has followed suit and so has the national cricket selection committee. Inzamam’s resignation had been long overdue. It came a bit late in the wake of Pakistan’s shameful defeat at the hands of Ireland and Bob Woolmer’s death. On the other hand, as protests against the PCB chairman grew stronger after the World Cup debacle, he did not show any signs of accepting responsibility and handing in his resignation. It is good he has done what he should have done much earlier as a mark of acknowledgement of his role in the debacle. As for the selection committee, Wasim Bari, the chairman of selectors, submitted their resignation on behalf of the entire selection committee. It is indeed good to know that the national team’s captain, the PCB chairman and the selection committee have acknowledged their responsibility in Pakistan cricket team’s failure in the World Cup. With their resignations, the whole edifice of Pakistan cricket has crumbled.

The time has come to start anew. Pakistan’s cricket structure is in a mess today. Pakistan’s national cricket team has faced a number of problems in the recent past, from a doping controversy involving our key bowlers, to captaincy issues, politics in the boardroom, inconsistent decisions by the selection committee, tempers flaring on and off-field, disastrous performances in numerous series, not to mention the World Cup. The defeat at the hands of the baby of cricket, Ireland, followed by Bob Woolmer’s death proved to be the final nail in the coffin. A two-pronged strategy is required to resurrect Pakistani cricket. One prong relates to the appointment of a PCB chairman, captain of the cricket team, and of course members of the selection committee. Utmost care is needed in making these appointments. For the post of PCB chairman, we need to appoint a person who is not only well versed in the game of cricket but also a competent administrator. But more importantly, one who is not enamoured of ‘joy riding’ but has the interest of Pakistani cricket at heart. We must find a capable person rather than looking for ex-bureaucrats, ex-diplomats, ex-judges and ex-generals to occupy this office. We already have had enough of such ‘political’ appointments to the office of PCB chairman. Pakistan cricket cannot afford this luxury anymore. Of prime importance is the framing of a constitution for PCB so that the Board and its affairs could be regulated, discouraging one-man rule.

The second prong relates to revamping the whole structure of Pakistani cricket at the grassroots, so a steady flow of talent could be ensured. This would give long term stability to Pakistani cricket. We must focus on reviving cricket at the level of universities, colleges and schools. Regional cricket must also be encouraged. In view of our batsmen’s vulnerability against fast and seam bowlers on a grassy wicket, green wickets should be prepared. Mental and physical fitness is central to a team’s performance. So, attention should be given to this aspect of the team. It is understandable that no improvement can be brought about overnight. But with the right kind of will, this can be done. Of course, our cricket debacle has brought us a lot of pain, but then there is always an opportunity in crisis. We must make the best use of this opportunity.


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