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Whither Pakistan Cricket?

The resignation of Pakistan’s President Musharraf from office was followed by the resignation of the head of the Pakistan Cricket Boad, Dr Nasim Ashraf.  Kamran Abassi offers a critical assessment of his time in office in his Pak Spin blog. The next question is who will replace him, what will he do to improve Pakistan’s cricket and will that be enough?

Good question but I think the answer is more than just a new administrator replacing an old one.

Pakistan cricket has always been mercurial.  The genius of Abdul Qadir, the fight and grace of Imran Khan, the street fighter attitude of Javed Miandad, the swing of Wasim Akram are memories from my youth.  Latterly those memories include the Oval test match incident where Inzamam threw a strop worthy of Ritchie Blackmore and cost his team the first ever test match to be forfeited.

That wasn’t a failure of Dr Ashraf.  He wasn’t in post then.  It was a failure of the Pakistan team management and then head of the PCB, Shahriyar Khan just as much as others contend it was a failure of ICC officials.  Whatever the spineless ICC may say, that test will always be a forfeit to England in my eyes.

Then there’s Shoaib Akhtar.  Great talent but bad attitude.  A positive drug test cleared on what looked like dodgy ground to me.  Hitting a team mate with a cricket bat.  Publicly slating your employer.  Almost every sanction he has faced he has appealed and somehow, some way managed to get that sanction decreased.  And the PCB stood by and let that happen.

Mohammad Asif‘s recent dalliances with drugs have further besmirched any good reputation the PCB may claim to have.

As an outsider I can only read the reports in newspapers and on websites and reach my own conclusions.  Is the running of the game in Pakistan weak and inept?  A governing body should be strong, its players knowing that they are role models and that certain standards of behaviour are required of them.  It isn’t rocket science.

My perception is that for whatever reason, there is less discipline than there should be. Pakistan’s coach, Geoff Lawson, achieved great things in his state career in a side based around discipline and performance.  When allied to Pakistan’s mercurial nature that will surely bring better results.

To achieve that the politics needs to be taken out of the PCB and a newcomer appointed to take names, kick ass and shake up the running of the game.  That means a clear line being drawn under the recent drug and discipline issues, those responsible being discarded completely.  Mohammad Asif may get a long ban for his positive test anyway.  Let him, Shoaib and others involved go.  Put a proper performance structure and code of conduct in place and let Geoff Lawson get on with his job.

Whether that will happen is anyone’s guess.  I hope it does because world cricket needs a mercurial side like Pakistan to be performing well. It gets boring watching one team beat everyone else.

Published incricketSport