Cricket is the most lovable, watchable and cherished game in Pakistan. Our hearts beat with cricket. Our life and death sometimes get associated with cricket.
Our day and night belongs to cricket. Though hockey is our national game but without any doubt cricket is far more popular than hockey in our country. From first day our cricket team has produced numerous heroes and achieved unforgettable milestones that every cricketing nation is proud of us.
Sadly, from the day one, like all other fields, cricket is also politically victimised. Unlike any other country of the world in our country the patron of cricket board is the president of the country and he has the power to appoint chairman of cricket board. Hence the nepotism and favoritism starts. The president selects the person of his own choice without taking into account his cricketing associations and cricketing knowledge and then the chairman awards critical positions to persons of his own choice and hence the chain continues.
This has been happening since the very first day and till date this is happening. After taking oath as President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari nominated Ijaz Butt as Chairman PCB who was close relative of Defense Minister Ch Mukhtar Ahmed and Mr Ijaz Butt did everything he could do to destroy cricket in Pakistan. His interference in team matters, non serious attitude destroyed the whole cricketing structure in Pakistan.
And as he didn’t destroy cricket completely, so the president decided to appoint president of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd Zaka Ashraf as Chairman PCB. Zaka brings with him vast experience of destroying public institutions. Just as he did with Zarai Taraqiati Bank and same can be expected from him for PCB.
Zaka Ashraf is not the first person who has been given PCB as a piece of cake by the patron of cricket board but history of PCB is filled with all such examples. Gen Zahid Ali Akbar, Justice Naseem Hassan Shah, Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, Gen Tauqeer Zia, Dr Nasim Ashraf, Ijaz Butt and Zaka Ashraf have only one thing in common. And the only visible quality is their close relationship with the rulers.
From Zia to Zardari, every ruler imposed chairman at PCB by violating its constitution. The rulers were able to do this because Pakistan is the only country whose president is chief patron of cricket and has right to appoint the chairman of PCB.
While many of my friends and analysts are terming this appointment as the last nail in the coffin but I think otherwise. Ijaz Butt was the last nail in coffin and Zaka Ashraf has come to put that coffin in grave.
Instead of appointing someone who has cricketing knowledge and who can lead the board, a banker has been appointed to run the affairs of cricket. The only reason I see to appoint Zaka Ashraf is to train players on how to convert black money into white money and how match fixing and betting can be done safely as he can only do this job.
On June 30, 2011, the ICC banned countries from appointing political figures to national cricket boards, vowing to free the sport from undue government influence. ICC has given two years to all cricket playing nations to implement this. Teams can be banned from playing international cricket otherwise.
The whole cricketing world except Pakistan has appreciated the idea as same ideology is being followed by FIFA. Pakistan has somehow opposed the idea and decided to take a legal action against the decision.
Instead of going by this decision, Pakistan has yet again decided not to follow it. This will sadly not help Pakistan cricket in long run. To save Pakistan cricket, president should cancel this appointment and should appoint a person of character, cricketing knowledge, wisdom and leadership charisma to run the most important sports board in Pakistan.
ASAD UR REHMAN