PCB’s lackluster policies exposed during recent performances

By Syed Intikhab Ali - November 28, 2020

More then a year has passed since the regional cricket associations were abolished while the club and grass root level cricket has been halted for around two years now.

More than 1000 first-class cricketers of both grade I and II were left jobless due to the closure of nearly 50 departmental teams.

Meanwhile, during the 2019-20 season PCB invested more than Rs.1billion on the new structure from its own exchequer. Though the same amount is being invested in the ongoing 2020-21 season, but with the help of few sponsorships.

While the performance of the national team has hit rock-bottom as it recently lost to the 14th ranked Zimbabwe at their home ground, clearly showing the so-called professionalism of PCB management.

Those stakeholders who raised their voices against the disastrous steps have become silent after landing lucrative jobs by PCB.

It is interesting to note that the Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) also summoned PCB chairman Ehsan Mani for a briefing on the new domestic cricket structure a few months ago, but so far no progress has been made in this regard.

The set-ups of the six provincial associations are yet to be announced, resulting in PCB’s direct control over the teams’ administration, selection, and other matters.

Ehsan Mani and Wasim Khan’s promises of upgrading the Pakistan cricket team with the international standards were brutally exposed when Zimbabwe thumped them in their own backyard while biased selection and coaching abilities of Misbah and Waqar Younis were clearly evident.

Who is responsible for sending the debutant Khushdil Shah in the super over as he was playing his first ODI?

While the injustice is done with the deserving performers as Zahid Mehmood, Nauman Ali, Tabish Khan and Bismillah Khan by the Misbah-led management further exposed their selection criteria.

And in my opinion the idea of giving the captaincy of all the three formats to Babar Azam may backfire and haunt his own sterling performances.

The appointment of Nadeem Khan as director of high performance also did not yield any good results either as six provincial and 90 city cricket associations haven’t been announced. As the director of NHPC in Lahore, he is still neglecting the much required NHPC set-up at National Stadium in Karachi as well.

The decisions taken by PCB officials in their air-conditioned rooms are sinking the Pakistan cricket’s ship into the sea, as departments have been abolished and the club cricket competitions have been halted which are depriving the budding players of the chance to showcase their skills.

A regional cricket organizer who was a former representative of Punjab the province said that “PCB officials say us (former representatives of cricket associations) Mafia, so one can imagine their mindset how they think about those who have produced a number of stalwarts for Pakistan for decades.

With the huge amount of money being invested in the new domestic structure, not a the single new talented player has emerged during the last two years.

Pakistan is not Australia and England, where players have the scope in other several games like Football, Rugby, Tennis, Athletics, and Swimming.

As the ground realities are totally different in Pakistan where games like squash and hockey have almost no necessities and money, so cricket solely dominates and provides budding players the opportunity to pursue the sport as their future.

An old stakeholder of cricket observed that till the PCB is investing the precious funds in domestic cricket, this newly introduced system could be run, but when they (PCB) stop the funding, this system would be badly affected.

He declared that if PCB continues its same policy regarding domestic cricket, the state of cricket would in dire straits like hockey as they have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs by abolishing the club cricket, he said.

And such disastrous decisions in my opinion are showing signs as Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe, and may well be forced to play the qualifying rounds for participation in the Cricket World Cup 2023 as the team ranks 7th in ODI rankings.

The issue of captaincy would also become a hot topic once again as PCB high-ups are hiding their mistakes by appointing Babar Azam as captain.

The decision to hand over the selection responsibilities to head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah and coaches of provincial cricket teams as members have totally backfired as well.

While, the prime examples of injustice with the deserving players include, the preference is given to Imam ul Haq over deserving Abid Ali and Usman Qadir being preferred over talented Zahid Mehmood.

The Misbah- Waqar combination is based on a defensive mindset as they are not insisting on youngsters and not promoting the culture of attacking cricket in the team as well as continuing to do injustices with the best performers in the domestic circuit.

By Syed Intikhab Ali

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