The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has wasted little time in conveying to the new Pakistan team manager Naveed Akram Cheema that maintaining discipline in the camp would be his utmost responsibility during the forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
Cheema, a member of the PCB’s governing board, replaced the experienced Intikhab Alam for the tour and will accompany the squad to Zimbabwe where Pakistan will play one Test, three One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20s.
It has been reliably learnt that the PCB, considering the controversial past few months following the reported differences in the team management, has already started giving guidelines to Cheema who managed Pakistan ‘A’ on their tour of the West Indies.
“Cheema is an experienced person but managing the national team is a serious job,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.”Obviously maintaining discipline would be his main responsibility and he’d be given guidelines on several sensitive topics including that.
“Given what has been happening with the team in the recent years, people expect a scandal every time and it’s the manager’s main duty to avoid that from surfacing. It’s a tough job for the new manager but if he performs well, he may be retained for future assignments.”
Lectures for manager, captain and coach
The infighting engulfing Pakistan cricket was brought to the surface during the West Indies tour earlier this year when then-captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis developed serious differences over team selection with the all-rounder even walking out of team meetings.
The issue brought Pakistan cricket into the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again and also paved way for Afridi removal as limited-overs captain that was followed by a conditional retirement and a tussle between the player and the board.
With memories of the mess still fresh, the PCB has decided to hold pre-tour lectures to avoid such issues cropping up in the future and has also decided to include the new manager in the lectures.
“Cheema will also be given instructions during the lectures. All members of the team management will be reminded about their domain and will be informed of the repercussions if they cross them. During the lectures, every individual will also be handed instructions on how to deal with the media.”
The official added that the lectures were likely to take place during a conditioning camp prior to the squad’s departure for Zimbabwe.
Cheema hopeful of delivering
Meanwhile, the newly-appointed manager was hopeful of performing his duties with success and without any more controversies.
“It’s a tough job but it’s not impossible to achieve success,” he said while hinting that he will warn the players of strict and prompt action for any wrongdoings. “Problems do exist but if the players are aware that there will be an instant action against them for any wrongdoing, they will avoid such acts.”
The team will leave for Zimbabwe in the last week of August and will start the tour with a two-day warm-up match against Zimbabwe XI from August 28. The one-off Test will take place from September 1 in Bulawayo.
Correction: An earlier version of the photo caption had a typographical error. The correction has been made.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.