No more ifs and Butts

Ijaz Butt’s tenure has been nothing short of a Bollywood flick, full of action, adventure, thrill and suspense. One can only hope that Pakistani cricket recovers.

Hammad Mateen October 15, 2010
While the Pakistani nation is busy witnessing their star players show off their talents in the ongoing domestic T20 championship at Qaddafi Stadium, the atmosphere off the field isn’t too cold either. Just two days after PCB issued its one-day captain (Shahid Afridi) a show-cause notice for commenting on the team selection of the very squad he is scheduled to lead later this month, the PCB itself received a warning from the ICC. After a meeting in Dubai (which extended to 2 days), the ICC warned the PCB to clean up its act, otherwise it would have to face the consequences.

Since then, Mr Ijaz Butt has taken charge of the PCB and relations between the board and the ICC have been on thin ice, to say the least. Butt has taken the PCB on a roller coaster ride like no other chairman ever before.

A short preview of the ride can be seen below:

  • Younus Khan was made captain in place of Shoaib Malik.

  • There was a T20 world cup victory.

  • Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi were made captains for different formats.

  • There were poor performances.

  • M Yousuf was made captain.

  • There were more poor performances.

  • The ball-biting incident occurred.

  • A T20 world cup was lost (The players were forgiven)

  • Afridi was named captain for all formats.

  • Afridi resigned as test captain and announced his retirement from test match cricket.

  • Salman Butt got a chance to lead.

  • The spot/ match fixing allegations happened.

  • Three players, including the captain, were suspended.

  • There were mediocre performances.

  • Misbah ul Haq was named test captain.

There’s been a lot more going on as well within the PCB, like the hiring and firing of personnel and a battle for authority between individuals.

As far as the international scenario is concerned, the PCB wasn’t too bothered about mending its ways in that regard. Two points in particular underscore this fact:

Butt’s tenure so far has been nothing short of a masala Bollywood flick. It’s been full of action, adventure, thrill and suspense, with an exaggerated amount of humor-provided by the man himself with his statements in the media and complete U-turns on those very statements.

A very capable wicket-keeper of his time, claiming 52 catches and 20 stumpings in first-class cricket, Butt seems to be handling matters with butterfingers these days. The chairman seems be relying upon the Federal Defense Minister (who is also Butt’s brother-in-law) to defend his position as the PCB chief. The Patron-in-Chief of the PCB (the president of Pakistan) however, should…aah! Never mind!

After a two-day long meeting in Dubai, the ICC directed its task force (which was initially formed to examine ways to bring international cricket back to Pakistan soil) to go beyond its original task and assist the PCB in improving its affairs. The team consists of Giles Clarke (Chairman ECB and leader of the task force), Peter Chingoka (chairman ZC), Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka), Mike Brearley (England), Dave Richardson (SA) and Ramiz Raja (Pakistan).

The PCB has been given 30 days to examine and review its structure, which is being leisurely but gradually eaten up by the termite of corruption. In short, the PCB has to undergo pest-control within a month; otherwise sanctions may be imposed on the board. The PCB has also been directed to implement an education program for its players, to groom them as responsible sportsmen before they come on to the field.

Frankly, one month isn’t a sufficient amount of time for any organisation to mend its ways, especially when the organisation is in a state of disarray as badly as the PCB is in. Surely, the board hasn’t faced a situation as terrible as this since the time it was founded (in 1948, as the BCCP.)

One can only hope that Pakistani cricket comes out of this predicament very soon and we find players and officials who are sincere to the game and genuinely play it as ‘a gentleman’s game.’

This post was originally published here
Hammad Mateen The author is a mechanical engineer, education management professional and freelance writer working in the social sector, he tweets as @hammadmateen (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


parvez | 13 years ago | Reply Cricket has a unique place in Pakistan's over all "feel good" philosophy. When the team does well - plays good clean cricket, the mood of the nation is up-beat and light headed. If I were a PPP political strategist I would ensure that the team did well and PCB matters were handled professionally. The dividends are obvious and many.
Tahir Jamil | 13 years ago | Reply Very aptly put brother, and sorry to say the situation seems to exacerbate further owing to the selection matters which are very badly handled; as announcing the list of probables before a major domestic tournament goes beyond any sane person. In my humble opinion the root to all this evil goes down to nepotism in PCB from the very top (i.e. selection of the Chairman) till the selection of players and captains on the basis of liking and disliking of the concerned personnel. Keep up the good work yar and best of luck with your future efforts :)
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