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“Anyone But Butt”

Faraz Sawat’s opinion piece in Cricinfo makes a very good case for the removal of Ijaz Butt from his position as Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.  Regular readers will already know my feelings about Mr Insensitive, a man for whom firing cannot come soon enough.

Faraz gives us a brief history of PCB chairmen.  None of the last three chair holders have covered themselves in glory and their foul ups are mentioned.   Shahryar Khan is rightly criticised for his performance in the Ovalgate fiasco where, if memory serves, he preferred to sound off on the radio rather than be where a leader should have been, in the Pakistan dressing room sorting out the issues.

Back to Mr Insensitive.

As bad as all of this was, any of Zia, Shahryar and Ashraf are preferable to the utter ineptitude of Ijaz Butt.

If I’ve noticed and written about it, surely others closer to Pakistan cricket and its power bases have too?  Yet Butt somehow remains in post despite being clearly and demonstrably unfit for purpose.

Mere days in the job and it was clear that Butt was opinionated, unfair and indiscreet.

See my previous point.  We’re not talking about rocket science here, we’re talking about the basic good sense and good standards one would expect at the very least from a leader.

While Butt did well in principle to get former players involved, his choices have ranged from questionable to downright wrong….

Butt has fallen out with Javed Mianadad (sic) and Aamer Sohail. While both were always committed cricketers and no one doubts their sincerity towards Pakistan cricket, they are also known for their volatile personalities. Appointing them to any post was always going to be risky.

Javed Miandad must surely be one of the most abrasive, inflammatory cricketers there has been.

Then of course…

The lowest point of Butt’s brief reign has been his handling of the aftermath of the attack on the Sri Lankans in Lahore.

The least the chairman could have done was call a press conference immediately, express condolences for the victims and clarify the PCB’s sphere of responsibility. Instead, Butt alternated between being bullish, defensive and occasionally outrageous, as when he called for a life ban on the match referee, Chris Broad, for speaking about what he perceived as inadequate security.

Faraz’s comments about ICL players turning their back on their countries smacks of those who said similar things in the World Series Cricket days.  The fact is that the ICL came before anyone else had put a Twenty20 league together and only the BCCI’s bullying tactics forced the ICC and national boards to ban players.  Quite wrongly in my view and I will forever hold Justin Vaughan of New Zealand Cricket in very low esteem for being the BCCI’s puppet.

I do agree with the majority of Faraz’s piece, particularly the last line:

So low has the PCB fallen that almost anyone would be better than Ijaz Butt.

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