What sort of a selection policy is better?
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

“We are number 7 in ICC’s Test rankings and 6th in ODI rankings – are you happy with that?” asked the PCB Chief Executive as he began his presentation to unveil significant reforms to Pakistan cricket for many years.

In a sense, given the hoopla around the appointment of Wasim Khan who was brought in from England by Chairman Ehsan Mani, anything less earth-shattering in terms of reforms would have been a huge let-down for the millions of supporters of Pakistan cricket.

By Amir Husain (3rd September, 2019)

A system of cricket which seemed to have failed the aspirations of a proud nation for many years was in dire need of reform, but the obstacles were many. The inertia that stops most progress from happening in many walks of Pakistan life was probably the main reason why many well-meaning previous initiatives had failed to carry out life-saving surgery for a somewhat failing system of cricket in Pakistan.

The changes brought into play by the new administration therefore are a breath of fresh air which could be the oxygen that Pakistan cricket needs for its long-time survival. As Wasim Khan remarked during his presentation, the idea isn’t to make changes for the sake of it, but to leave a long-term legacy which could be the envy of many nations.

To start with was the removal of what many considered the ridiculous concept of departments running cricket teams, and reduction of 16 regions to a much more competitive number of 6 newly formed associations. The hue and cry that we heard from some former cricketers in the lead-up to this decision was based upon losses of ‘stable’ income for hundreds of cricketers. Precious little was said about the fact that the culture of entitlement which meant that players were paid for whatever level of performance they put in, just because a huge number of teams were ‘needed’ to be playing the domestic tournaments run by the PCB.

It seemed having more teams to show how popular the game was in the country was more important than actually worrying about the quality of players coming out of the system who would eventually represent the country. The long list of average performers that Pakistan cricket has produced in recent times should have been a source of concern for all and thankfully, we now have a chance to see what a streamlined system will produce. High quality and lesser number of players, vying for 11 places in the nation side in each format can only result in a more manageable system which the national selectors would also appreciate.

The remunerations offered to domestic players have been increased, but there are a few murmurs in the cricketing community that departments provided an overall better package; perhaps something for the PCB to look at, next time around. The 233% increase for winning prize money for Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, and 150% and 100% rise for the same in Pakistan One-Day Cup and the National T20 Cup is all great news and should be welcomed. One could argue that by reducing the incomes of many more, the PCB is now able to pay a smaller number of players with more money which will have a devastating effect on the morale of cricketers around the country. But what we must not lose sight of is the fact that the PCB’s incomes stream is limited.

The sponsors and what they will pay to the PCB cannot help feed thousands of cricketers. In summary PCB’s resources are limited and the fact that its pride and joy, the national team is producing sub-standard performances is not helping its cause in terms of attracting high-paying sponsors.

What Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani are now doing is to make an effort to rescue an ailing game in Pakistan and give it a push in the modern way. Decision to use the Kookaburra balls and emphasis on infrastructure development which would be par for the course for many other boards is what the game needs in Pakistan. Improvement in pitch quality, better facilities for the players and umpires, and empowering associations to manage their own matters instead of looking at PCB for handouts are all measures that in theory, should bring in good dividends for Pakistan cricket.

With lofty stated goals, such as taking Pakistan to the finals of World Test Championship in 2021, Wasim Khan has set himself up for a tough few years at the helm of the PCB. All his words will be judged by the results of the national side and any failure to improve their standing in world cricket will be considered, fairly or unfairly, a failure of all policies. So, the stakes are high for the PCB administration and expectations of great improvements could well be difficult to counter but from what we have seen from Wasim Khan, he will take this as a challenge to take on which could only be good news for Pakistan. What he will need to watch out for, though, are not only the hurdles from external sources but from within his own organisation as for many, change in status quo would be the last thing they need. These are exciting times for all followers of the game in this cricket-mad nation and it would be a shame if negativity is allowed to mar initiatives that could well change the face of the game in the country forever.