Do away with cricket controversies
Cricket in Pakistan has become like a political talk show that takes over our screens every night.
I think we’ve all spoken at length about how boring Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies was.
There was an absence of intensity. There were moments when it seemed an international duel was on show, as opposed to net practice, but for most part of the tour, both teams seemed to be going through the motions.
My guess is that they were just warming up for the real challenge that was to follow.
The mighty Irish were next
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must have realised that the fans needed some real entertainment so right after the lackadaisical performance against the West Indies, the team took on the mighty Irish. Just the match-up Pakistan fans were looking for after an absorbing Test series, right?
While the on-field affairs didn’t exactly get the headline-makers excited, a lot of things happened on the sidelines which made more noise than Pakistani bats on the pitch.
There was the controversy where captain Shahid Afridi was whining that the tour management didn’t give him a free hand with selecting the playing eleven, or even take his suggestions into account. His whining became public as always and the board decided they had enough.
There was a lot of pettiness from the sides in the aftermath, the player in question and the cricket board as well, but for once I was happy that player-power didn’t win even though Afridi tried his best to pressurise the board with not just the fans but his political influence as well. All that was quite obvious from the farce that followed his return to Karachi.
The entire affair became really ugly and the only positive outcome was that it put the spot-fixing fiasco into the background, at least for the time being.
When things don’t really go your way
And this was even before a tour began. Right after the World Cup, Afridi came out with a statement that he needed to rest and will not be touring the West Indies.
Rest, here, should have been read as:
‘I am unhappy because everything is not going my way and I want to act like a spoilt child’.
The disappointing aspect of late is that Pakistan cricket has become less about the game or the performances of our players and more about the infighting and the animosity that exists in the dressing room or between he players and the board.
There needs to be an effective gag-order on all players, even the captain, especially if they are going to wash their dirty linen in public. Move the focus back to cricket, the on-field part of it — and the fans will come back. Cricket in Pakistan has become like a political talk show that takes over our screens every night, with allegations, and not a cricket ball, thrown back and forth with no resolution reached.
The PCB has to work harder to get interesting tours for Pakistan — let’s not even talk about teams visiting because that is not going to happen any time soon.
With the minds still recovering from the excitement in the West Indies, we now have the series against Zimbabwe coming up.
Why? Wouldn’t it have been so much more exciting to play against Kenya?