Home > Features >

Pakistan cricket needs the leadership of someone like Ehsan Mani

Pakistan cricket needs the leadership of someone like Ehsan Mani

Ehasan Mani © Getty Images

By Ali Masood Khan 

A change in leadership is needed. No, I’m not referring to the upcoming elections in Pakistan, nor am I talking about the country’s favourite pantomime villain — Misbah-ul-Haq. I am in fact, referring to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairperson Zaka Ashraf, supposedly the nation’s saviour from the tyranny of Ijaz Butt.

So focused, it seems, Pakistan are on Ijaz Butt’s disastrous tenure that people fail to see the many failures of Zaka Ashraf. However, this article is not a comparison between the two; it only deals with the latter and his regime.

A fresh start

Although the PCB was riddled with problems at the time, Zaka Ashraf came to the fore with a plethora of goodwill, just for replacing the much-maligned Ijaz Butt. He had the chance to start afresh and to get to the root of problems plaguing Pakistan cricket. Instead, he made regressive decisions that continue to hurt it.

One of his first acts was the establishment of a new selection committee. Rather than appointing someone new or with a proven track record, he reverted to a selection committee that had served and failed under Ijaz Butt’s tenure with Iqbal Qasim as its head. It was this same committee that had been responsible for the dreadful second half of 2009 during which Pakistan failed to win a single series and included the abysmal tour of Australia. Though their second run has been better (it was still largely responsible for the whitewash received at the hands of South Africa), many of the same issues still remain such as inconsistencies, failure to promote youngsters and preference of the so called ‘big names’.

Not only did the chairman bring back Iqbal Qasim, who was also part of the selection committee for the 2007 World Cup failure, but even people such as Intikhab Alam (Director of National Academy) continue to play a central role in the functioning of Pakistan cricket.

Despite repeated failures with previous regimes, Intikhab Alam continues to be a significant figure and his inefficiencies and politics remain cancerous to Pakistan cricket. Moreover the appointment of Dav Whatmore as head coach was ill-timed at best after Pakistan’s whitewash of England and has borne mixed results for the team thus far.

Return of international cricket

One situation where it seemed impossible to blame Zaka Ashraf, owing to the deteriorating security situation in the country, was the restoration of international cricket in Pakistan. Yet, the way the PCB tried to bully the Bangladesh Cricket Board into sending their team to Pakistan was embarrassing for all concerned. As a result of this fiasco, the Pakistani players were not allowed to play in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Already starved of the riches of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it was a shame that Pakistan’s underpaid talents were forced to sacrifice a healthy source of income, because the PCB’s, and more importantly, Zaka Ashraf’s pride was hurt and after all the drama. There are still no signs of International cricket returning to Pakistan anytime soon.

Pakistan Super League (PSL)

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was supposed to compensate for the loss of income from the BPL for these players. Yet again, Zaka Ashraf failed to deliver on his promise and we stand here still without a professional T20 league, behind even the West Indies and their Caribbean Premier League.

It was going to be hard for the PSL to attract star names as it was, with the security situation deteriorating, but the idea to hold the league around the same time as the elections was imprudent to say the least.

What was even more worrying was the lack of organisation and management that was present in the process. The PCB had failed to raise sufficient interest for the acquisition of franchises which led to a last minute scramble to seek investors while the format of the event itself left much to be desired. Hence, the PSL was met with great skepticism and has lost its credibility before it has even begun with its inevitable ‘postponement’.

Future tours programme

While much of the focus will presently be on the Champions Trophy squad and the exclusion of Shahid Afridi, there was another piece of news that came out regarding Pakistan cricket that should be of more concern. It was announced that a Test series scheduled to be held in July has been scrapped to be replaced by five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two T20s.

Pakistan cricket’s need for Test cricket is well documented with only six Tests played in 2012. The recent shortcomings in the whitewash by South Africa only further emphasised our need to play more Test cricket.
Despite this, the PCB prioritised a few cheap T20s and ODIs over the much-needed Test matches as PCB had backed itself into a corner after refusing to reschedule the series to August since they had plans to host India during that month. Not even the most delusional amongst us would expect India to tour Pakistan in August and this also brings us to our next failure.

While on the surface, the resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan was a positive step, it came at a price for Pakistan cricket. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) still owed the Pakistan cricket team two tours, yet we agreed to play in India without an agreement on a return tour even at a neutral venue. In cricket, tours are carried out on the basis of reciprocity however we are still no closer to hosting India than we were before the tour and all it seems to have done is fill the coffers for the Indian Board while ours remain relatively empty.

On the home front

Finally, on the domestic front, our First-Class cricket remains in dire straits. The format of two different First-Class tournaments certainly proved to be a case a quantity over quality.

While Peter Moores was hired as a consultant to improve the domestic structure, we are still no closer to finalising an efficient system which can produce world class players. Furthermore, another important mechanism in producing players for the national team is the ‘A’ team. However, under Zaka Ashraf’s tenure, the number of tours by the Pakistan ‘A’ team stands at a staggering zero.

It must not be surprising then that our batsmen fail to perform in England or South Africa or when any youngsters fail to come through to the national team. Yet this vital component in preparing youngsters for international cricket does not seem high on the agenda for the chairman and Pakistan cricket is suffering as a result.

We may have celebrated the departure of Ijaz Butt, but had we known what was in store, we may have celebrated with more caution. For years the people have yearned for a person of a corporate background to head the PCB, and while Zaka Ashraf seemed like one, we must not fool ourselves into thinking he is anything but a political appointment.

Even his Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) background must be treated with caution as he did indeed fail the ‘fit and proper’ test of the State Bank of Pakistan yet was allowed to continue in his post.
Pakistan cricket is at a crucial juncture and requires a strong leader to guide it through this phase not one that surrounds himself with yes men and milks the plaudits of his superficial success while sweeping the grave failures under the carpet.

We need a chairman who, while has a corporate background, still understands the intricacies of world cricket. Pakistan is lucky enough to have one such individual in Ehsan Mani.

One can only hope.

(Ali Masood Khan is a student at the University of Bristol who comes from a cricket-mad family who loves to write about the game. He tweets @alimk91. The above article is reproduced from http://tribune.com.pk/ with permission)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 13, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Gros Islet, St Lucia

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 7 wkts

Scotland tour of Ireland, 2014

Sep 12, 2014  at Dublin

Scotland won by 8 wkts

Photos

India tour of England 2014: Highlights

Videos

Ajmal addresses media after being suspended

Live Cricket Score Southern Express vs Lahore Lions CLT20 2014: Lions close in on win

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Lahore Lions’ fate mimics that of Pakistan

CLT20 2014 Qualifier Match 6: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights — Key battles

Bangladesh Bangladesh vs West Indies Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Lahore Lions Northern Knights Southern Express West Indies West Indies vs Bangladesh West Indies vs Bangladesh 2014

West Indies vs Bangladesh, Live Cricket Score 2nd Test Day 4:

Goa Cricket Association gets more time to reply to notice

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Jehan Mubarak, Farveez Maharoof dismissed by Adnan Rasool

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Southern Express in deep trouble

Hobart Hurricanes in CLT20 2014, Preview: Underdogs, who have their task cut out

Test Cricket: Then and Now

Dolphins in CLT20 2014 Preview: South African champions can be a surprise package

Perth Scorchers in CLT20 2014 Preview: BBL champions start as underdogs

Jonty Rhodes — what if the famous leap to run-out Inzamam-ul-Haq hadn’t come off

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

PayPal takes a swing at Apple Pay security over “iCloud hack”

Bigg Boss pair Tanishaa Mukerji and Armaan Kohli getting married!

Is Shahid Kapoor taking a dig at Kareena Kapoor Khan?

International programme in Animal Husbandry

K.K. Paul takes oath as acting Mizoram governor

‘Global selfie’ to send Earth’s self-portrait into space

George Clooney to be honoured at Golden Globes

How do I style curly hair? (Male Grooming Query)

Southern Express vs Lahore Lions, 5th Qualification Match in CLT20: Southern Express in deep trouble

CLT20 2014 Live Scorecard: Mumbai Indians vs Northern Knights

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here