THE unending gloom and controversy which had marred Pakistan cricket for quite some time has finally ended. So did the speculation which became a favourite past time for many to air their favourite candidates for the PCB Chairmanship.
This list included some relevant, desirable and even irrelevant names. There were several former test players also being mentioned including some who even openly declared their own candidature, including Javed Miandad and Zaheer Abbas.
Let us however make one thing clear that all over the world cricket boards are headed by people through a process of election and not by nomination. This includes India, arguably the most powerful and richest cricket board, Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies and others. Pakistan is an exception and with the new rules of ICC, applicable from 2013, it would become mandatory for Pakistan to follow suit. It may also be made clear except for solitary example of Hafeez Kardar, there exists no other example of any great cricketer heading a national cricket body with distinction. Other than Kardar, Pakistan’s most distinguished cricket chiefs were, Air Marshal Nur Khan, Lt. General Tauqir Zia and Khalid Mahmood who were not former Test players though Tauqir Zia has been an active first class player throughout.
Cricket Boards the world over are headed by reputable administrators, known public figures enjoying the confidence of their respective cricket fraternity. Vijay Merchant , Hazare, Gavaskar and Mansur Patudi, were never considered for that position, nor Sir Don Bradman, Hutton or Sobers made cricket chiefs of their respective countries.
This most ridiculous and even reprehensible practice owes its origin to a point of time when there was close rivalry between two former captains, both aspiring for top slot to its first ever overseas tour, managed to oust the other. Somehow this system had remained in vogue and even made part of Constitution during the tenure of a former dictator.
It is good to see a breath of fresh air with the appointment of Zaka Ashraf, who unlike some others carries no previous, baggage. He starts with a clear goal to rid Pakistan cricket of all known evils and with a clean slate. He is also a known good administrator and has a passion of cricket as he showed to promote and support the game in Zari Taraqayati Bank.
One hopes Zaka Ashraf, will live up to his stated words and clean up the PCB to revive cricket in Pakistan which remains truly a national passion.
Also a word about the outgoing PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt. When he took over he was warmly greeted by me as an old friend, whom I had known since his younger days.
However, he defied all such expectations that someone with the background of test cricket, past exposure of board secretary, President of Punjab and Lahore Cricket Association and experience in the private sector would be an ideal choice to run the affairs of board. That in no time he became highly controversial, showed inconsistency in his handling everything had come as rude shock to all his friends and well-wishers.
Lastly when he became a butt of the whole media, associations and public and was also apparently in such poor health, least he could do was to make a graceful exit. He hung on the chair even till the last day was pathetic, to say the least.