Former Pakistan leg-spinner and current England spin-bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed has called upon the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to undertake serious efforts to improve the state of discipline in the country’s cricket in order to avoid the kind of situation that was recently witnessed when all-rounder Shahid Afridi and the PCB came to loggerheads.
Pakistan cricket has been plagued by a spate of controversies over the last few years, with the PCB-Afridi dispute the latest one to hit the headlines when the all-rounder spoke out against the board after he was removed from the limited-overs’ captaincy. The PCB reacted by suspending his central contract as well as his NOCs to play overseas, and the matter eventually ended up in court.
The dispute was finally laid to rest with a patch-up between the board and the all-rounder resulting in an out-of-court settlement.
However, Mushtaq felt that such incidents could be avoided in the future if the PCB comes down hard on discipline breaches instead of taking half measures.
“I think an example must be set on disciplinary matters,” Mushtaq told The Express Tribune. “It’s extremely important to avoid disputes between players and the board. If a player starts thinking of himself as bigger than the game and tries to impose his will unfairly and doesn’t rectify his behavior despite repeated warnings, then all doors must be shut on him. There must be no compromise on discipline.”
Communication gap in Pakistan cricket
Mushtaq went on to give his views on the cricket culture prevalent in Pakistan.
“I think that in our cricket culture there’s a vast communication gap between board and the players. What’s needed is strict adherence to rules and instant punishment whenever there’s a discipline breach, which is the best way to ensure that upcoming, budding players think ten times before violating rules.”
Outside interference damaging
Afridi and the PCB have been reported to have resolved their rift after a meeting between the all-rounder and the board chairman Ijaz Butt in the presence of a government official. However, Mushtaq was of the opinion that outside interference in board matters will ultimately be damaging for Pakistan cricket.
“I think the PCB, as the sole authority running cricket in the country, should take care of all on- and off-field matters. Interference by politicians might work as a short-term solution but it won’t work in the longer run. Such controversies will pop up again and again. So PCB should tackle all matters using their disciplinary regulations.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2011.
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