Former Pakistan players demand removal of Butt as PCB chief

PCB chief Ijaz Butt is hoping to get an extension, thanks to his proximity to President Asif Ali Zardari AFP

Karachi: Sep 21, 2011

The opposition to Ijaz Butt’s continuing as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman is mounting with former players and officials demanding his removal.

While the PCB chief is hoping to get an extension, thanks to his proximity to President Asif Ali Zardari, who is the board’s patron-in-chief, former players and past chiefs want him out.

Zardari appointed Butt, a former Test cricketer, as chairman in place of Nasim Ashraf in October 2008 for a three-year term.

During Butt’s tenure, Pakistani cricket has gone through a big turmoil, with the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 and the spot-fixing scandal bringing it into disrepute.

His run-ins with former Pakistan captains Shoaib Malik, Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi and other senior cricketers and board officials have made things difficult for him.

However, in the last two years the team has done well to win the Twenty20 World Cup and enter the World Cup semifinals after a long gap.

Former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani feels Pakistan cricket desperately needs a change.

“There should be a strong set-up with associations having a dual role,” said Mani. “The problem lies in our system of one-man rule.”

“The real problem lies in our system and the one-man rule should be finished. The facts speak for themselves. We can count a lot of controversies during his tenure. There should be a strong set-up.”

Former PCB chief Khalid Mehmood said Butt must go after the way he has handled the board’s affairs.

“We faced a lot of problems during his tenure, the biggest being the Pakistan losing its prominence as a cricketing nation. The PCB once had a status in the world but now it has no voice,” Mehmmod said.

Mehmood also dismissed PCB’s claims of curbing player power, saying that “Butt has finished the players.”

Mehmood, however, gave Butt credit for giving a lot of youngsters a chance to play for the country.

Another former PCB chief Arif Abbasi said Butt should have resigned after the attack on the Sri Lankan team.

“His tenure has brought unprecedented shame and if he gets an extension our cricket will get buried,” Abbasi said.(IANS)