The newly appointed selection committee has excluded Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal from the long list of players for conditioning camps on the basis of attitude not performance.
Most of the fans and followers of Pakistan Cricket have welcomed the exclusion. However, their reaction seems to be driven more by the lack of performance rather than the attitude. Both Ahmad and Umar have been described as highly talented and future of Pakistan Cricket. But since 2009, their performance cannot be described in any way other than inconsistent or consistently under par in regards to their perceived talent.
Naturally, the fans wanted a break from watching them put up inconsistent or under par performances. So the fans were interested more in the result rather than the reason of their ouster. That’s how fans behave all over the world and there is nothing unusual in it. Fans support even the worst of attitude and discipline when players perform and when they don’t; fans can pick on even skin color or height of a player to see them out of the side.
But that’s how enthusiastic and overzealous fans behave – more of emotional and impulsive behavior than thoughtful and futuristic. Do the administrators behave the same way or should they? Or the administrators are supposed to have more thoughtful, objective and process oriented view of things rather than a usual knee-jerk or love-hate reaction cycle like a common fan? The administrators also do not enjoy the luxury that fans do, that is, to blame the players without assuming any responsibility.
Accountability is directly proportional to authority and obviously the fans don’t enjoy any authority in handling of a player but the administrators do.
Interestingly, these two players make up the top of the list of players that the world has recognized as the most talented future players from Pakistan in the post 2007 period. The only other player that attracted such global endorsement was Muhammad Aamir and interestingly, though in a different way, he also paid for the wrong attitude towards the game.
From that wider angle, the picture looks completely different and it stimulates an intriguing question, that is, is it really players who are carrying and failing due to wrong attitude towards the game or in fact, they are falling prey of wrong attitude of the administrators whose very reason to exist is nothing but to nourish and nurture the talent of players rather than letting them walk to the edge of attitude issues.
PCB is equally responsible for the failure of these talented players. Either PCB’s processes and procedures to groom players are ineffective or its the selection process that has enough blind spots to let such players make it to the side who still need to work upon their performance or attitude before becoming part of the team. Either way, its not only players who are solely responsible for this failure.
Players’ part of the responsibility should not be used as an opportunity to sweep everything under the carpet and keep on producing talented-players-with-attitude-problem. PCB should also accept their part of the responsibility and think about how to avoid talent getting transformed into problem child. Not just the players, PCB also need to correct their attitude towards the game.