Blog – Pakistan Cricket Board: “Imported” Chairman & Managing Director

By Imad Zafar

As the Prime Minister himself is an ex-cricketer, it was expected that he will take professional steps in managing the Pakistan Cricket Board affairs. During the election campaign Khan was critical of the then Chairman PCB Najam Sethi and the way PCB worked. Khan vowed to completely change the structure of the Pakistan Cricket Board after assuming power. After winning the General elections and sworn in as a Prime Minister Khan appointed his trusted aide Ahsan Mani as the Chairman Cricket Board.

Pakistan Cricket
File Photo: Ashan Mani

Eshan Mani the former President of International Cricket Council is a competent man but his ties with Imran Khan and him working as a member of board of Governors for Shaukat Khanum Hospital raised the question that why a close aide of Prime Minister was only considered for the position of Chairman PCB, and if appointing him is a right decision then how can Imran Khan accused Nawaz Sharif of not appointing Najam Sethi the ex-chairman PCB on merit.

After the appointment of Ahsan Mani, Wasim Khan an ex-county cricket player who played for Warwickshire, Sussex, and Derbyshire from 1995 to 2001, has recently been appointed as the Managing Director of Pakistan Cricket Board. The daily Dawn quoted a PCB spokesperson who told the newspaper, Wasim Khan an MBA from Warwickshire is a former professional cricketer with a wealth of experience in cricket and cricket management. While there is no doubt on Wasim’s professional capabilities and his experience as he had a successful stint at the Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

However, one wonders how on earth Pakistan Cricket Board was not able to find a competent person in Pakistan. Why the ex-cricketers with vast cricket and management experience in Pakistan who served their country are not considered appropriate for the slot of Managing Director of Pakistan Cricket Board, Wasim Khan may have a successful career in cricket management in Britain, but the dynamics of cricket and its structure are entirely different in Pakistan. Unlike England, we don’t have a proper system in the schools that can identify the sportsmen in the early ages and groom them with the professional coaching system. Pakistan mostly depends on the natural talent of the players, who unlike England play very immature club cricket here.

Pakistan Cricket
File Photo: Wasim Khan

If the idea of hiring Wasim Khan is to restructure the club cricket in Pakistan than his appointment can be justified but for that role, he could have been given an advisory role in a PCB on the Club cricket domain. After all, Wasim has the experience of playing for the clubs and managing the cricket club. As Wasim has no experience of managing a cricket board or representing an international cricket team, one wonders how he is supposed to run the Pakistan Super League, improve the infrastructure of the domestic cricket and help the provincial and federal governments to ensure the promotion and protection of cricket. These are supposed to be his major duties according to the advertisement published by the PCB in the month of October. While Wasim has led most of his life in England it seems improbable that he even knows that how many teams are currently playing the grade 1 or grade 2 cricket.

It would have been much better to hire a Managing Director from Pakistan with a good knowledge of the structure and dynamics of the local cricket. Perhaps Misbah ul Haq was an ideal person for this position as not only he has played the modern international cricket but he has an MBA degree as well. In any case, it is not about Wasim or Misbah, the point is that we still are not ready to learn the lessons from the past mistakes. Appointing cronies or rewarding the old friends with designations or perks and privileges have actually destroyed the institutions of our country, and PCB is no exemption in this regard. Whenever a new Prime Minister steps in, he immediately fires the top management of PCB and appoints his friend or crony and as a result, the institution of PCB has become an institution where appointments are being made purely on the basis of political and personal affiliations rather than the basis of merit and cricket.

The institutions are not built by strong personalities, they are built by adopting transparency and fair and free structural reforms with zero tolerance for nepotism. Imran Khan was a great player of his time, but he needs to realize that the times have changed and so do the game of cricket. The cricket played in the decades of 80s and 90s and the modern day cricket are entirely different in nature. In the 80s and 90s Batsmen were supposed to work on the technical aspect and during the match, they were supposed to save wickets rather than to attack. In modern day cricket it is all about attacking the opposition with inventing new techniques to score runs rather than sticking to the old techniques.

Same goes for the cricket boards as well, in the past, the cricket boards were supposed to coordinate with ICC for organizing the bilateral series and tournaments among the nations and to manage the sponsors and the team players and staff members.

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Nowadays boards are busy in manipulating the ICC for giving them a huge share of profits earned from the matches of their respective teams. They are busy in organizing T-20 leagues to not only make profits but to give their domestic players the opportunity to play with the international players which eventually improves their skills. Pakistan Cricket board still lacks behind in terms of producing the greats like Saeed Anwar, Amir Sohail or Zaheer Abbas not because the talent in the country has vanished, but because of the culture of nepotism. When the Chairman or the Managing Directors are appointed on the basis of personal connections it gives birth to the culture of nepotism in the whole institution. From the selectors to players everyone is being selected on the basis of personal likes and dislikes instead of merit and skills. This is the reason that the players we are producing are not matching the skills of Virat Kohli or Rahul Sharma. Most of the domestic players with loads of talent go unnoticed as they find it difficult to find a connection in the hierarchy of the PCB that can give them the chance to showcase their talent at a big scene.

We have virtually demolished our institutions by picking and choosing the favorite people for the particular job. Unfortunately, even the institutions like PCB which are supposed to improve the structure of cricket has also been not spared from this menace. Good luck to Wasim Khan and one hope he will do justice to his job, but for sure the institution of PCB needs to be freed from the political influence so it can grow like the Australian cricket board. Else we have seen what happened to the hockey and hockey federation of Pakistan as a result of nepotism and political influence.

By Imad Zafar is a journalist and writes for various publications. He tweets at rjimad.

The opinions and views expressed by the author or the readers may not reflect the views and editorial policies of the Allsportspk. Thus, the content published is not the responsibility of Allsportspk.

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