Mixing cricket with politics

A player may risk career by taking part in active politics: expert.

Fawad Hussain April 24, 2013
Speculations regarding Shahid Afridi’s political affiliation have continued but the star all-rounder is yet to confirm any such development. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: As the May 11 general elections near, speculations continue over star cricketers’ affiliation with major political parties.

Pakistan’s most celebrated cricketer Shahid Afridi remained in the news as the election impends with speculation of his affiliation.

Earlier, rumours suggested that Afridi had joined PML-N that later proved untrue and now, according to social networking websites, the all-rounder is believed to have confirmed his presence in the Imran Khan-led PTI’s public gathering in Karachi. Interestingly, this development has yet to be confirmed by the all-rounder.

Many also believed that swashbuckling opener Imran Nazir was closely associated with APML chief  General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, after he was seen around the former president during a press conference in Dubai. But none of the current national cricketers have so far confirmed their membership with any party.

However, amid these speculations, an expert close to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) think tank has advised players to stay away from active politics.

While there is no clause in the cricketers’ central contracts that bars them from having an affiliation with political parties, their stature demands it, added the expert.

“There is no clause in the central contact that bars a player from an active role in politics,” an expert, who is close to the board’s legal matters, told The Express Tribune.

“It’s the constitutional right of all the citizens to choose any leadership or join any party. Yet it will not be encouraged by the PCB.”

‘Risk to international career’

Meanwhile, the expert added that the PCB could impose a restriction on any player who decided to participate in active politics.

“Any player who has signed the central contract is bound to give 100 per cent commitment to the PCB. In fact all the national cricketers come under the board’s code of conduct.

“If the PCB opposes a player’s role in active politics then he will have only one option – join politics or continue his cricket career.”

However, the official said that such a scenario would not present itself since an active political role would seriously harm a player’s career.

“It’s an open secret that politics has a major role in our sports.  All the players, I believe, are aware of the repercussions on the international career if a rival party of his adopted leadership wins elections and comes into power. He will definitely have to face a tough time then and that will keep him out of active politics.”

The matter is also crucial since Pakistan has also formed a new constitution as per the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules separating undue government intervention in its member boards’ affairs. However, Zaka Ashraf, who was handpicked by PPP co-Chairman and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, continues to head the PCB.

Sri Lanka legend Sanath Jayasuriya is an example of a cricketer joining active politics and continuing with his international career. India’s batting icon Sachin Tendulkar has also tasted the field after he accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination proposed by the Congress last year.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2013.


Haseeb Aftab | 8 years ago | Reply

Hes no longer needed in cricket now.

rav | 8 years ago | Reply

its it personal preference one is free to chose what ever he wants

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