It's not just cricket
If we want to improve Pakistan cricket, we need to start putting the PCB in order.
Cricket may not be our national sport — that honour goes to hockey —but is the one sport that can excite the nation or make it go into collective depression. It is more followed than any other sport and perhaps for that reason alone, even the way it is run and administered in the country is the topic of much discussion, debate and concern.
Unfortunately, for several years of late, the way that the sport has been run in the country has left much to be desired. For years, allegations have been made against those who govern it accusing them of indulging in favouritism and nepotism, particularly in team selection. They also say that appointments to the sport’s governing body are also politicised and this means that very often the best candidate for the post does not get appointed and is often overlooked.
Let’s take a look at the profile of the current head of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ijaz Butt. He was a Test player and represented Pakistan in a grand total of eight Test matches, scoring 279 runs in the process. It could be asked that whether this record is enough for anyone to be appointed to the prestigious and important post of chairman of the PCB. What many people will say that perhaps a bigger ‘qualification’ is that he happens to be a close relative of a powerful person in the government.
Even in the case of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Amir, the PCB escaped any blame whatsoever, though it should have shared some of the responsibility for what happened given that its contracted players should be monitored and groomed in a manner that they conduct themselves in an honest fashion.
If we want to improve Pakistan cricket, we need to start putting the PCB in order. This means all appointments on merit, and all team selections, at all levels, to be strictly on that criterion as well. If politics or nepotism is allowed to have a say in either, we are not going to see the standard of our country’s most-followed sport improve any time soon.