Four media managers — are you serious?

July 1, 2016 | By

By Syed Intikhab Ali

Pakistan’s tour to England often turns into a nightmarish experience. There have been many episodes — Wasim and Waqar ball tampering allegations, Afridi’s scuffing the pitch,  Inzamam-ul-Haq’s refusal to take the field after an argument with the umpire, the spot-fixing by Salman Butt, Muhammad Amir, and Muhammad Asif , the 1962 Javed Burki led team’s 0-4 annihilation, Wasim Bari-led team’s disastrous defeats. Our English tours have a peculiar history. In some cases it is more sensitive than our tours to India.

This time the tour is more sensitive due to Muhammad Amir’s return to the team, but how the PCB is taking the sensitivity of this tour is surprising. First they wanted to hire Brian Murgatroyd as Media Manager for the England tour, but he refused. Then PCB decided to send four people.

A few days back PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who first announced that he will be on vacation in England while the series will be played. Then PCB clarified and stated that he will be on duty during his stay in England and he would guide the media persons. First, the PCB’s decision to appoint four persons as media managers (five if you include the Chairman) makes it clear that PCB is shaky and does not know what to do about it.

So it decided to please everyone and send four persons for different periods. One can imagine what dramas might happen in England, not only with the British media but also with our own captain Misbah-ul-Haq, coach Mickey Arthur and the players when they have to deal with four different people.

All the four persons are PCB employees in the media department: Aga Akbar, Raza Rashid Kitchlew, Aon Zaidi and Amjad Hussain Bhatti. This decision clearly shows that PCB has no solid policy regarding media communication. It only wants to appease these four people because they have strong connections.

Instead of facing the problems and solving them, these inexperienced media managers will themselves become a burden during the tour and cause themselves to be in news.

The most regrettable thing is that the PCB has claimed that it wants to give some experience to its four media managers through the tour of England. What a pity? The PCB is admitting that all four do not have enough experience for England tour and it wants to give them experience of facing the foreign media. It is difficult to digest this logic. For giving them experience the PCB has chosen England.

Doesn’t anybody in the PCB know how hostile the English media is?

When Pakistani journalists ask these guys some questions about routine matters, they take two days or even more in replying. How will they deal with the nasty British media, especially in a critical situation?

The PCB chiefs should know the British media will minutely scrutinize the players’ movements to find stories, keep the team under pressure and defame the players and the team management. So they should be extra careful.

Four different persons as media manager for this sensitive tour will mean four different minds will be working with the team in four different periods on one tour. It will create problems even for our team and the management. 

The PCB chairman has also put them under pressure by saying that he would guide them. It means that in any untoward situation, the media manager will lose concentration and will instead wait for the guideline of the chairman.

The most interesting aspect of PCB planning is that Najam Sethi, the chairman of PCB’s Governing Board, who is himself a renowned journalist and towering personality in Pakistan’s media industry, talks about all local and international issues. He has vast experience of print and electronic media and knows all pros and cons of this field. He has been the Godfather of Pakistan cricket for the past few years but it seems he has no say in this respect.

Shakil Sheikh, an influential member of PCB governing body, is also a working journalist and works for the country’s leading media group. But he too is away from the PCB’s media matters.

Why doesn’t the PCB request Sethi to play a role in formulating PCB’s media policy and guide the media personnel? It is his specialized field. He has headed many successful publications, and is regularly on the country’s most successful TV channel as an expert, but has not been asked to guide PCB’s media policy for England tour.

If Sethi had provided the guideline to media managers during the tour, it would have been acceptable.

Syed Intikhab Ali

Syed Intikhab Ali is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous articles published at

You can connect him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter

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