KARACHI: With the national team returning to England in the summer for the ICC Champions Trophy, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has already started planning measures to avoid any mishap in the country where they were rocked by the infamous spot-fixing controversy three years ago.
Pakistan cricket suffered its worst time during the 2010 tour of England when three players – then captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – were found guilty and handed lengthy bans by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Although the board, through its education programme and other initiatives, has succeeded in avoiding controversy involving any team member since then, it is looking to adopt a more cautious approach ahead of the last edition of the ICC Champions Trophy that will start on June 6.
Excessive social networking deemed as threat
It is an open secret that despite strict vigilance on communications by the team management, touring players use social networking software excessively to communicate with family and friends.
The players are generally told to avoid unnecessary phone calls and the team management is given transparent records of cell phone usage. This has prompted the players to use softwares such as Skype, Viber and Whatsapp as they feel comfortable while communicating through these means.
However, the use of the software poses threats of possible entrapments for the players leading to unwanted controversies.
An official close to the PCB’s vigilance and security division said the board was aware of the usage of the social networking tools by the players.
“We are confident that they will not embroil in any controversy,” said the official, adding that the players were well aware, thanks to the board’s education programme.
Session lined up to educate about internet menace
Meanwhile, former Test cricketer Wasim Bari, who initiated the board’s education programme after the spot-fixing controversy, said a special session will be arranged for the players before the ICC Champions Trophy to educate them about the downside of using excessive internet on tours.
“We are aware that internet is the safe haven for such approaches,” the board’s director education and training told The Express Tribune. “Our main plan on how to cope with the menace is to arrange special sessions (lectures) before the ICC Champions Trophy in which emphasis will be on the use of internet. I am not in favour of banning the use of laptops for touring players.
“I feel education is the best solution and so far it has given desired results.”
Meanwhile, according to a report in the Daily Express, the board was also considering the use of a special device which can block the use of social networking websites and tools.
Through the same device, activity on internet can also be monitored.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.