The news that the ICC has banned the three Pakistan cricketers – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – for 10, 7 and 5 years respectively comes mostly as no surprise. The ICC had made its views on the issue quite clear if a guilty verdict was reached and the point needs to be made again that the ICC’s proceedings, although participated in by various people with legal qualifications and experience, are not those of a Court of Law. If the tribunal finds that the ICC’s rules have been broken then they have the right to impose whatever sanction they see fit within their published rules.
The ICC (supposedly cricket’s governing body) has found itself in the spotlight with the rejection of former Aussie PM John Howard from the post of ICC President. World cricket has its factions, at least when Lalit Modi isn’t throwing a strop and the boards are falling into line like good little sheep (and I could use a far stronger word here), and Howard’s rejection has opened up some debate on those factions and the reasons for it.
The reactions themselves are generally predictable but there are two which deserve highlighting for their crass stupidity and one for its spot on analysis.
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.
Congratulations to Pakistan for winning the mens’ World Twenty20 competition and to England for winning the womens’ World Twenty20 competition.
Pakistan’s heartwarming triumph comes despite the stupidity, insensitivity and general antics of the Pakistan Cricket Board, who are probably the most unfit for purpose of the national cricket boards. Given how bad some of them are that really is an indictment of the PCB.
So let’s push Mr Insensitive, Ijaz Butt, out of the way and celebrate the mercurial Pakistan team. I’ve always had a lot of time for Younus Khan as a player. As a captain he’s managed to do what only Imran Khan did for Pakistan cricket and mould a team which won a major prize. He has given Shahid Afridi back his confidence. Afridi’s man of the match performances in the semi final and final show a cricketer who has matured. He is a livewire, a match winner and cricket is the better for his presence. Note also that no Pakistan player played in the recent IPL. Does that tell us something?
Never doubt the talent that Pakistan has available. Quite why Pakistan can produce 17 and 19 year old international cricketers who are ready for that level of cricket and England can’t I don’t know. It’s a joy to watch. Just think what Pakistan cricket could achieve if they had a sensible, well constructed administration overseeing the game. Again we’ve seen excellent support for Pakistan, India and Bangladesh here. If Pakistan isn’t to host home test matches, why not bring host them here in England?
The ultimate cricketing Pot Noodle show starts today. The World Twenty20 tournament is three weeks of hearing “Yahoo!” screamed from tannoys every time a bowler comes on, every time a batsman comes out and seemingly control freak measures which are a bit at odds with what is supposed to be a “fun” tournament.
The warm up matches have been interesting, certainly in terms of the hitting we’ve seen. James Franklin smashed two of the largest sixes I’ve seen, Luke Wright smacked another. As someone who’s never managed to hit a six (I’ve come close but never quite cleared the boundary) I’m always a little envious of those who middle a ball and send it into the crowd or out of the ground.