Much applause for Champions’17 But time to come out of celebratory mode and put PCB in order

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    Pakistan was ranked the lowest, number eigh, in the tournament but still managed to outshine by winning the title against its traditional rival Indiain the final. The boys played amazingly well under the captaincy of Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur, which deserves a huge applause.

     

    Pakistan cricket team’s tremendous performance in the Champions Trophy’17 and bringing the trophy home is,no doubt,a gift for the nation or as it is being called ‘Eidi before Eid’. It has been a major highlight this Ramzan and the nation celebrated the victory on the roads and social media alike and still cannot get over the memes trolling Indian skipper Virat Kohli and actor Rishi Kapoor. The scenes to welcome the winning team were also heartening and the gifts the team and captain are receiving also speak for themselves. However, it is time to come out of the celebratory mode and realise what needs to be done so it does not remain just a one-time success.

    Pakistan was ranked the lowest, number eigh, in the tournament but still managed to outshine by winning the title against its traditional rival Indiain the final. The boys played amazingly well under the captaincy of Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur, which deserves a huge applause.

    “Like I always said, Pakistan has great talent in cricket, starting from Karachi to Fata area. We have to dig out those talents from every corner of the country so that cricket keeps growing,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) former chairman Zaka Ashraf while talking to DNA.

    But the fact still remains that Pakistan was the least favourite to win the tournament. The struggle in qualifying for the tournament also cannot be forgotten which became too tough due to the team’sdismal performance in the past.

    “Pakistan won this trophy because of its unpredictability and team combination. At the start of the tournament, nobody thought Pakistan would qualify for the final but it gained momentum after winning against Bangladesh and South Africa. It was a good decision to drop Ahmed Shehzad and WahabRiaz, Sarfraz made a good captain. India’s over confidence was also one reason for the victory. However,we should not remain in a fool’s paradise after winning just one tournament and should not have any misunderstanding and credulity,” said sports journalist and cricket commentator Mirza Iqbal Baig while talking to DNA.

    Moreover, the poor performance in ICC WT20 and Asia Cup of2016, that led to the retirement of everyone’s dear Boom Boom Afridi and stepping down of coach Waqar Younis, exposed the weaknesses of the team, showing that the players lack fitness, temperament and game awareness. This called for some short and long term measures on part of the PCBto address the problems in Pakistan cricket and the board itself but not all of the suggested measures were implemented. The PCB is again being overlooked in the euphoria of the victory which has had the same underlying problems since long.

    Although Pakistan Super League (PSL) Chairman Najam Sethi is taking the credit for producing good talent like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan through the successful holding of PSL these two years and winning the Champions Trophy will sure help open doors for international cricket in Pakistan that has been absent since the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, but it is the PCB that needs restructuring and that needs to improve domestic cricket in order to keep the stride of success.

    “The PCB chairman and Najam Sethi are taking credit for this victory. They are trying to cash PSL factor but no PSL player other than Hasan Ali performed well. The PCB cannot take PSL’s credit for this win, PSL is short form of cricket while this was a 50-over tournament,” Baig added.

    The former PCB chairman said, “As for the PSL, I initiated it and planned it. T20 should be merged in PSL and all matches should be played in Pakistan while all regions of the country should be included in the tournament to make it more successful.”

    Some of the key issues facing Pakistan cricket is the team giving unpredictable performance and winning at its luck, the problems in domestic structure, issues with pitches and coaching and the absence of international cricket.The spot fixing scandals related with cricketers like Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif also brings a bad name to the country while the selection of the team has also remained controversial.

    “The PCB should not select players while sitting in its office, insteadthe selectors should themselves go and watch inter-district matches so that the real talent can be brought out in regional teams. ‘Sifarish and chit system’ in selection needs to be abolished and merit based system needs to be introduced. When there is no merit at district level, it effects the merit to trickle upwards,” said the former PCB chairman.

    Also, a concrete strategy to promote domestic cricket is missing. The structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan has been revamped after every two years in the past decade alone. There are no proper grounds and quality pitches at district level that help improve the performance of players at local level.

    The board needs to concentrate on domestic cricket – its quality, players, umpiring, scheduling, and the quality of balls, said Baig, while Ashraf suggested that the PCB should support the districts by providing nets and cricket kits across the country. Kookaburra balls should be introduced in the domestic inter-regional tournaments of Presidents Cup so that our players get used to the ball the ICC is using in international cricket, he said.

    Another controversy surrounding PCB is that the board is extremely politicised. Some people have been occupying positions in the board for years without making any major contributions and nobody cares to replace them. It would not be wrong to say that this lack of new faces in the board is reflected in the performance of the team and has led to many controversial administrative decisions

    Moreover, the former chairman added, the academy needs to be strengthened and they should try to remove the weaknesses in the team players.

    Another controversy surrounding PCB is that the board is extremely politicised. Some people have been occupying positions in the board for years without making any major contributions and nobody cares to replace them. It would not be wrong to say that this lack of new faces in the board is reflected in the performance of the team and has led to many controversial administrative decisions.

    Speaking on the issue, former PCB chairman Ahsraf said that the whole board should be elected and the previous constitution be brought back so that real democracy is restored in Pakistan cricket. “Najam Sethi is trying to remove Shahryar Khan and occupy his chair.The board is being run by three chairmen currently, the third one being Shakil Shaikh,” he said.

    “We don’t have any test cricketer in PCB’s governing board. Such people need to be appointed who actually know cricket. Moreover, under the new constitution, the prime minister has been made the patron-in-chief. President’s interference was not to that extent as compared to the prime minister. The political interference can be minimised by holding free and fair elections. Even if the candidates are selected by the prime minister, it should be considered that they have a good reputation in cricket,” analyst Baig added.

    Now that Pakistan has won Champions Trophy after the victories of 1992 World Cup and2009 World T20, let’s hope that the team continues to play cricket like a game instead of using its luck and favourable pitches for its ‘unpredictability’ in winning the matches. It is time that the PCB identifies its areas of failuresand free itself from any sort of political interference so that the successes continue with the team. After all, cricket is one thing that Pakistanis love and the team’s victory brings joy to the country like nothing else does.

    1 COMMENT

    1. This is probably one of the worst ever articles, I’ve ever read, concerning on the cricketing affairs of pakistan. Before one endeavors on writing a critical article, please do us the favour of versing yourself in writing skills first. Utterly dismal.

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