Analysis: PCB fails again

Published: July 1, 2013

PCB should have strongly objected to the allocation of the 2023 World Cup solely to India and registered its concern over the lack of transparency and reserved rights to re-open this matter. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: Pakistan was unable to earn the right to host a single International Cricket Council (ICC) event till at least 2023 and this reflects the chaotic and unorganised state of the country’s cricket board over the past 5 years.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has utterly failed to have its position understood on the global stage.

I fail to understand how did Pakistan representatives go to a meeting and accept that the country won’t even be considered as hosts for another 10 years?

On the other hand, India has earned the sole right to host the 2023 ICC World Cup so this begs the question — how was it acceptable to Pakistan? The ICC allots an event to a region. Even the 2011 World Cup was awarded to the subcontinent before Pakistan was stripped of its hosting rights due to the attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team in 2009. At the recently-concluded ICC meetings, PCB should have strongly objected to the allocation of the 2023 World Cup solely to India and registered its concern over the lack of transparency and reserved rights to re-open this matter.

It’s unfathomable to imagine that Pakistan attended the annual conference and not asked for hosting rights for any ICC event in the coming 10 years.

This development reflects the sad state of affairs within the PCB. The body has been dysfunctional and there has been no strategic planning or a roadmap to bring back international cricket to Pakistan. The bottomline is that no progress has been made since the tragic attack on the Sri Lankan team.

They have basically adopted a hit-and-miss approach in asking various cricket boards to pity them and visit. This unprofessional attitude has put them in no-man’s land.

Suffice it to say that a 10-year window is a big one and the country’s internal security situation can and should change. But the officials just seem to be chasing after themselves.

Earning the right to host ICC events again is going to be a painfully slow process — because it’s about trust-building and confidence.

For international cricket to come back, security benchmarks need to be agreed with the ICC. Close liaison between the ICC Security Unit and the Pakistan government should have been developed to ensure safety and security of visiting players. The ICC, the sport’s world governing body, has to have confidence in the assurances it receives from the PCB that security won’t be a problem.

However, the fact that the PCB just took this latest development lightly is unacceptable. They could have asked for a cut-off deadline, say by 2016 or 2017, to satisfy the ICC and the other cricket boards that Pakistan was safe to host international matches and ICC events.

As followers of cricket, we’re obviously saddened by the development. Fans will not see a World Cup in Pakistan for at least another 22 years. Under the ICC rules, every third World Cup will be played in Asia — the next one in the region will be 12 years after the 2023 one.

I would strongly urge the PCB not to accept this but to argue its position in a professional manner; ask for time and assure the ICC members that it would only hold an ICC event in Pakistan if it was convinced that Pakistan was safe. To do this in a credible manner we first need to admit the reality that it would be irresponsible to bring a team to Pakistan amid the present scenario.

I have great sympathy for Najam Sethi — he probably didn’t realise what he was getting into when he occupied the PCB chairman’s seat and certainly did not have time to fully understand the politics of the ICC.

Zaka Ashraf and Ijaz Butt [former PCB chairmen] must bear responsibility for Pakistan’s current predicament. The PCB, under their stewardship, did not have a cohesive plan to bring international cricket back to Pakistan and was unable to engage with the ICC, the government and the other boards in a meaningful and constructive way.

We will need to prove to the world that the country is becoming safer to host international players and the government will have to be fully committed to ensure that it happens. Sadly, other than giving sweeping statements, we’ve done nothing.

Assurances from the PCB have lacked credibility. It’s extremely disturbing that after the Sri Lankan team attack, no heads rolled. This conveyed our non-serious attitude to transparency and accepting responsibility for the security failures.

The PCB now needs to make a proper, long-term strategy in re-building trust with the ICC and the global community and while it’s going to be an excruciatingly long process, this is the only way to bring back international cricket.

The writer is a former ICC president

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2013.

Reader Comments (18)

  • Jul 1, 2013 - 4:41AM

    What else could the poor Najam Sethi do? Security is a serious issue in Pakistan. High Court judges are not safe, how can you guarantee foreign teams on their safety in the back drop of Sri Lankan team incident. First the security situation needs to be improved, which I am sure would be post withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

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  • Gullee Danda
    Jul 1, 2013 - 10:13AM

    @Fahd Zafar: “What else could the poor Najam Sethi do?” Yes poor Najam Sethi cannot do much especially when he is not given powers. We should expect something from him when he is given full power, like in Punjab in the interim setup, and when all outstanding security issues would resolve. He is a true liberal and suits the PCB slot because he can represent Pakistan in the international arena without irritating other countries.

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  • Asjad
    Jul 1, 2013 - 10:57AM

    “Suffice it to say that a 10-year window is a big one and the country’s internal security situation can and should change”

    Wonderful, yet naive assumption sir.

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  • OK
    Jul 1, 2013 - 12:35PM

    You can not absolve Najam Sethi from blame. He is the PCB chairman. He shouldnt have taken up the job. Why get an outsider for an interim job unless you want bureaucratic paralysis which is exactly what is happening/ going to happen. Why didnt they just put the Operations head in charge?? Why not someone within the cricketing set up in Pakistan? It is not necessary that he/she (she is v unlikely in pk) is an ex intl cricketer.

    But it is ok. This is what the country voted for: lack of transparency, vision and merit based appointments. Enjoy!

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  • Jul 1, 2013 - 4:12PM

    “I would strongly urge the PCB not to accept this but to argue its position in a professional manne”

    Who is PCB is have a say or no say or accept or not accept the ICC’s decision,the decision is already made the calendar is already out and the calendar is already made public in all cricketing nations.Pakistan cant do anything except blaming it own staff members for next 10 years.BTW way India got the hosting rights of 3 major ICC tournaments not one.They are India 1) 2016 World Twenty20
    2) 2021 World Test Championship
    3) 2023 World Cup
    And yes other bilateral tournaments are also there

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  • Jul 1, 2013 - 4:17PM

    “I would strongly urge the PCB not to accept this but to argue its position in a professional manne”

    Who is PCB is have a say or no say or accept or not accept the ICC’s decision,the decision is already made the calendar is already out and the calendar is already made public in all cricketing nations.Pakistan cant do anything except blaming it own staff members for next 10 years.BTW way India got the hosting rights of 3 major ICC tournaments not one.They are India 1) 2016 World Twenty20
    2) 2021 World Test Championship
    3) 2023 World Cup
    And yes other bilateral tournaments are also thereRecommend

  • Rashid
    Jul 1, 2013 - 4:18PM

    This is atrocious on the part of ICC. I won’t be surprised if BCCI hasn’t played its hand behind it. PCB should ban both ICC and BCCI with immediate effect.

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  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Jul 1, 2013 - 4:53PM

    It’s sheer ignorance and stupidity on Pakistan’s side even to think that an international cricket event would ever take place here. And it’s wishful thinking that this would ever happen, and honestly it is good so. We are unable to stop the security chaos for our own people, leave alone doing it for foreigners. Imagine something happening again of the sort. How will we answer that. Think practically and be aware of your realities.

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  • Ajamal
    Jul 1, 2013 - 5:04PM

    Pakistan needs peace more than anything else. We don’t blame PCB or Najam Sethi for that.
    Without improved internal situation, no team would come to the country.

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  • Ajamal
    Jul 1, 2013 - 5:10PM

    What good do we expect if we appoint one crony after another (Ijaz Butt related to Chaudaris and Zaka Ashraf – AAZ’s friend)? Organizations are run by professionals and not by friends and relatives.

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  • Jul 1, 2013 - 6:15PM

    @Rashid yes of course why not you are free to leave ICC membership and btw your statement that “PCB should ban both ICC and BCCI with immediate effect” is wrong since you cannot ban them but you are banned by them.

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  • Rachid
    Jul 1, 2013 - 7:40PM

    @Rashid: lol…everything bad in pak is because of india..haha…if only pak cld learn to except its shortcomings instead of pointing the finger…btw by PCB banning ICC they wld ban themselves as they are part of the organisation themselves

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  • Adrian
    Jul 1, 2013 - 7:58PM

    There goes Ehsan Mani again…. he’s obsessed with India and has a huge problem with everything that India does. Does he says a word when England exclusively host the World Cup ? He should realize that India is a “cricketing superpower” and the country is pretty much bank rolling cricket across the Globe. Yes, they are not perfect and abuse their powers now and again. However, overall we should be all thankful for the great fans of India for keeping this great game alive.

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  • Syed
    Jul 1, 2013 - 11:29PM

    Only and idiot would come visit Pakistan at the moment. Security situation has been extremely terrible. No one is safe in Pakistan so can’t blame PCB or ICC for this.

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  • Absolute
    Jul 3, 2013 - 9:00PM

    We shouldn’t even think about hosting any international cricket in the current or near future timeframe. Our national government is pathetic, it’s definitely going to affect its sub-organistions. Any sensible person can see that we can definitely recover from the SL team attack, but if by any chance an international player dies in Pakistan, then i fear that we will have to forget international cricket at home for decades.

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  • Asim
    Jul 3, 2013 - 9:29PM

    To host an ICC event or an international cricket team for that matter, there should not be any bomb explosion or terriorist activity during the next two years atleast. Otherwise forget it

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  • Imran
    Jul 12, 2013 - 2:26PM

    If somebody fears to visit my house, then something is wrong with me, not them.

    Why blame ICC and India when nobody is ready to risk his life visiting Pakistan now. Can Ehsan Mani travel across the country without fear of his life in the current circumstances?

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  • Naresh
    Jul 15, 2013 - 2:32PM

    @Tom Ji :
    .
    Pakistanis should refuse to play international cricket from now on. Just play cricket with Taliban and TTP amd Lej only. Please don’t go to India to play.
    .
    Sir you are forgetting Pakistan’s Taller than the Himalayas, Deeper than the Pacific, Colder than Ice, Hotter than Fire and even more Electrifying than Electricity Friend – I mean China.
    .
    As Pakistan has already introduced Cricket to China – I believe Miandad was the Pakistani Cricket Ambassador to China – surely India will have a much stronger opponent and then instead of the BCCI we will find that BCCC (Board of Cricket Control in China) will take control of World Cricket.
    .
    Thus no further Cricket Matches will be held in India but mainly China which will share all its “China Based” Cricket Tournaments with Pakistan.
    .
    India will never see International Cricket again!
    .
    Cheers

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