It’s just not cricket

Published: June 7, 2011
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In the fight between Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Butt, there should be only one winner, and it isn’t Butt.

In the fight between Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Butt, there should be only one winner, and it isn’t Butt.

In Pakistan cricket, the term ‘player power’ is hurled as an insult towards cricketers who are perceived as working against the interests of the team. It is true that in the past, players have formed cabals to get their way, as with the betrayal of former captain Younus Khan. Shahid Afridi, however, does not fall under that category. In retiring from cricket and publicly expressing his displeasure with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) at a press conference on June 6 and filing a case in the high court a day later, Afridi will have the backing of all well-wishers of Pakistani cricket. Yes, Afridi transgressed when he criticised coach Waqar Younis, but stripping him off the captaincy of the ODI team was a disproportionate punishment. For the good of the team, the PCB needs a shake-up, starting from the very top with Chairman Ijaz Butt, and lessons in how to manage its players.

The case for Shahid Afridi is simple: He has been a successful captain of a very weak Pakistan team. He took us to the semi-finals of the World Cup, beating the mighty Australians and Sri Lankans in the process. He then nabbed a series victory in the West Indies. Throughout this period, his bowling has been outstanding — he was the leading wicket-taker in the World Cup. Afridi is a vital member of the ODI team and to lose him because the PCB does not treat its player with respect would be tragic.

Another important factor in arguing Afridi’s case is his honesty. A recent investigation into illegal gambling on cricket by Sports Illustrated India revealed that even bookies think Afridi is incorruptible. Given the match-fixing scandal that has blighted Pakistan in the last year, we need more players with integrity. The PCB chairman reacted to the match-fixing scandals with petulance, blaming the English for also being corrupt and had to deliver a groveling apology when threatened with a lawsuit. Under his watch, cricket has disappeared from Pakistan thanks to terrorism, players are unhappy and Butt himself has become a laughing stock of the cricket world. In the fight between Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Butt, there should be only one winner, and it isn’t Butt.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Hassan
    Jun 7, 2011 - 11:47PM

    Well this article seems to be too much one sided. Yes Afridi has been bowling better lately but I really feel that his performances over the years were not worthy of keeping his place in the side if it wasnt for politics. He has the crowd support which anyone will have if its Butt on the other side. Secondly the way he plays his cricket ( Specially while batting) gets him alot of support from people who love “hit cricket” i.e. hit a six or get out !!!!!
    His statements in the press are totally insane. I think a captain should be cool calm and collected . My vote is for Misbah , Misbah has like 2 to 3 more years and now our insane board should develop a new captain in these 3 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So its like insane board vs insane Afridi……. both not worthy of the job they are doing for me ………Recommend

  • Mush'hood
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:28AM

    We must respect players honesty and integrity as we dnt have the most in contrast to the player power in tha board’s or team matters. “AFRIDI IS IN CORRUPTIBLE” by indian bookies.Recommend

  • eyemam
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:01AM

    I demand butt should be removed from the PCB chairmanship. He has done lot more damage & humiliation to the Pakistan National game & our Cricket Heroes. He is senile old man doesn’t know anything about the ABC the Game of cricket. Lots of talented Players carrier had been damaged due to his ill management. He is still there to do how much further damage he does, Gods know?Recommend

  • Qasim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:11PM

    There is a wide difference between “courageous, insane, loud-mouth and hip-shooter. Mr. Butt should have gone long ago but “boom boom” should also have been busted even before. His on and off field shenanigans were tolerated for too long. Better late than never; no returning back at public demand please. Let him play politics in the political arena, where he might be a better fit, but not in the cricket field. Recommend

  • Pak cricket fan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:20PM

    Well said!!Recommend

  • vasanan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:48PM

    Both Mr Butt and Afridi are not worthy of high places they occupy/occupied. Mr Butt’s behavior during the entire course of the “Spot fixing ” episode in London and Afridi’s ball chewing/Pitch tampering/spectator bashing habits are just not pardonable. Neither Afridi’s media interview after the WC in Pakistan speaks highly of himself. A Captain should be like MS Dhoni., His interviews are the dumbest and devoid of any sensationalism. His answers are very much predictable and repeated ad nauseum. But then he has got midas touch and winning habits. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:49PM

    Both Mr Butt and Afridi are not worthy of high places they occupy/occupied. Mr Butt’s behavior during the entire course of the “Spot fixing ” episode in London and Afridi’s ball chewing/Pitch tampering/spectator bashing habits are just not pardonable. Neither Afridi’s media interview after the WC in Pakistan speaks highly of himself. A Captain should be like MS Dhoni., His interviews are the dumbest and devoid of any sensationalism. His answers are very much predictable and repeated ad nauseum. But then he has got midas touch and winning habits. Dhoni is a cool cat.Recommend

  • Hassan Farooqi
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:39PM

    Its a matter of 31 year old acting as if he is still 16 years old, and a 76 year old acting like a teenaged girl. The difference is, one is a national hero and the other a national villain. One is a successful allrounder and a successful captain, the other is a failed batsman and a failed chairman.Recommend

  • Jun 9, 2011 - 5:57AM

    fully agreed!Recommend

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