Democratising cricket boards

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Annual Conference 2011 has decided to amend the ICC Articles of Association in a bid to democratise all cricket boards “to provide for the important principle of free elections and the independence of member boards”. This is an extremely important step taken by the ICC given how some cricket boards are still chosen by their respective governments instead of being elected. The ICC has asked all boards to “implement the provisions before annual conference June 2012 and a further 12 months (to June 2013) would be allowed before any sanctions would be considered”. The ICC says only in the case of security concerns can a government interfere with its cricket board’s decisions. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are three countries whose governments are involved one way or another in their cricket boards’ affairs.

In Pakistan, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is appointed by the president. This has severely damaged not just the PCB but has had adverse effects on our cricket team over the years. For long the people of Pakistan have been demanding that the PCB and its chairman should be elected in a democratic manner because an elected board and chairman are fully representative of the will of all domestic cricket associations. Our track record shows how these appointments by the president are wrong and what problems arise as a result. No one in the PCB is ever held accountable for his mistakes. The ICC’s decision is even more important at present because the incumbent PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt is singlehandedly responsible for adding to the woes of our cricket team. From mishandling cricket affairs to changing captains like ninepins, Mr Butt has done more damage to Pakistan cricket than any of his predecessors.

It is time to put things on the right rails. For one, we need to strengthen our domestic cricket. Local associations do not have enough funding while ‘departmental’ cricket has failed to arouse the public’s interest. The economics of the game have to be sorted out to resolve this matter. As for the Pakistan cricket team, it needs continuity and stability. The transition from old captain to new should be smooth and without any hitch like it happens in other countries instead of at the wish and whim of the PCB chairman. For this cricket-loving nation, the ICC’s new provisions could not have come at a better time. The PCB should get on with it and implement the new provisions before the two years are up.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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