Ijaz Butt has been the talk of the cricketing world of late and has managed to attract so much contempt through his leadership that one does not find an example in the entire history of the sport.
To become a leader, one must be intelligent and have common sense, in order to solve the complexities of the tasks on hand. A leader should be energetic and committed, maintain contact with the people under him and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Also, while many other qualities exist, a leader should get the cue as to the likely line of a wise action.
There is no doubt in my mind that the chairman has the required credentials, having held the posts of secretary of the cricket board, chairman selectors manager of the Pakistan team and the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) president.
However, his tenure in the office has raised a number of questions about his ability to perform as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). When he took over, he was member of the governing board and was very vocal about certain actions of the previous chairman. However, he does not have the vision to improve the functioning of the PCB.
Ijaz is a good critic with no vision or ability to set the wrong right. It is the burden of responsibility that can easily unnerve anybody who is not capable of holding it with grace and dignity. He probably did not realise the intensity of the organisation he was taking charge of. In the PCB, you have to be on your mark at all times to face the cricket-loving people of this country.
Besides, in the absence of any diplomatic skills, he not only spoiled relations with other cricketing nations, but also asked for trouble from the sport’s governing body. While Pakistan cricket sank, so did its image.
Pakistan has always played a vital role as a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and has enjoyed the respect of its member countries. During the last two years, however, the current PCB management has fared poorly when it comes to maintaining its relations with its counterparts but also the ICC.
Major reasons include poor management, inability to handle burning issues like the spot-fixing allegations and non compliance with the ICC’s Code of Conduct as well as disrespect to other member countries’ opinion and stance.
There is a dire need to redeem our image and we must regain our lost status. Issuance of the charge-sheet by the ICC is not only insulting but it also undermines our ability to handle affairs.
Neither the current PCB management nor the senior staff has the capacity to react with the required diligence and acumen to satisfy the ICC and other member countries.
We need someone who has the experience of handling the PCB affairs gracefully, professionally and someone who has earned respect for Pakistan cricket and the PCB. Additionally, the ones assigned the task must have good support and enjoy the confidence and respect of the ICC.
The decision has to be a popular and judgemental one because Pakistan can no longer afford another experiment with a new face.
The writer is a former Pakistan captain and chief selector
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2010.
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