Pakistan Cricket Board needs to function in a democratic way

Former PCB Chief Zaka Ashraf was suspended by the Islamabad High Court © AFP

By Muhummad Asif Khan

The day Zaka Ashraf, the former chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), orchestrated the elections to facilitate his chairmanship for four years, the apprehensions started to in creep and the reason was pretty straightforward. First, he handpicked the Board of Governors (BoG) by leaving out the cricket nurseries like Karachi and Lahore, and then ‘obviously’ got elected.

Ashraf introduced Larkana and Dera Murad Jamali to the BoG at the expense of Karachi and Lahore. The reason was fairly clear — he wanted to secure votes. As expected a flurry of court petitions paved the way for an intervention from the judiciary, which somehow put activities at the PCB in jeopardy.
 
In this scenario the PCB should shoulder the blame rather than the court.
 
To understand the issue, one needs to look at the structure of the PCB, which has a duly approved constitution as well. However this very constitution — which has also been challenged in the Sindh High Court — invites a lot of questions over its democratic nature.
 
The chairman controls virtually everything with the consent of the (handpicked) BoG, which approves every move of the boss. Hence, the practice is, on the face of it, duly ‘democratic’.
 
The chairman features in the BoG as well, as he does in all the other important matters. Right from the financial affairs to the team selection, the authority of the PCB chairman is evident.
 
A lot has already been said about it and it is time to move towards a tangible solution which could be acquired by either studying the glorious era of Pakistan Cricket — in terms of the on-field performance — or by analysing the setup of the other relatively successful cricket boards around the world.
 
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is considered one of strongest administrative setups. Here, even the board’s head can be forced to step-down if a situation that requires this arises. In India, the zonal heads take over as BCCI chief on a rotational basis for a period of three years. In other matters, all the zones have their equal say.
 
Why can’t the PCB take every component of the system on board to ensure democracy in both letter and spirit?
 
Since the regions and associations are the basic components of the Pakistani cricket setup, which produce and nurture cricketers at the grass-root level, their services should be duly recognised. Apart from constituting a handpicked board of governors, a sole body should be shaped with the representation of all the regional associations and departments. All major decisions should be put before them to decide on majority votes.
 
As per my understanding, the regional bodies are more democratic as they hold regular elections to choose officials — a practice that is not common in the PCB.

(Muhammad Asif Khan is head of sports section at News One TV and a TV show host of ‘Sports One.’ He has also worked with Business Plus and Indus TV. He tweets @twitter.com/mak_asif. The above article has been produced with permission from http://tribune.com.pk/)