Proud past, dubious future
This is not just a bad patch that the cricket team is passing through. It is a breakdown years – many years – in the making. And it’s not as if the symptoms have not been staring us in the face for a long time. Go back to the Sethi-Ashraf musical chairs recently. Each time one went, so did his team, and the minute he was reinstated his boys would be back with him. Little surprise, in hindsight, that what the Board was setup for – supporting and promoting the game – suffered all this while.
And the prime minister’s solution was nothing short of breathtaking. To put the matter to rest once and for all, Nawaz Sharif could think of nothing better than putting Shahryar Khan at the top of the PCB. That, of course, tells us that either the prime minister was just not aware of Shahryar’s uneventful last term as chairman, or he just didn’t care. The result, however, is an unprecedented fall from grace in a sport that has brought pride and glory to the nation. Needless to say Pakistan cricket today is a far cry from the days of Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mahmood, or Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, Waseem and Waqar, and so on.
Perhaps just that has been our undoing and for far too long we have relied on individual talent to hide the team’s, and management’s, many shortcomings while the rest of the world moved to a more scientific, more mechanised way of working. No better example than neighbouring India. The restructured their board, which in turn led to more result oriented training and investment, and the result is for all to see. The PCB, just like other cricket boards, is after all a giant corporate entity that ultimately delivers a service. And as such, it must operate like other big corporations do. But the approach here, particularly under the present dispensation, continues to revolve around favouritism and opportunism. Just like Squash and Hockey, Pakistan has now been removed from the top echelons of the cricket world. Hopefully some lessons, at least, will be learnt.