The Cricketer with Mansoor Ahmed
A lot has happened since I last wrote this column.
The most radical news might be good for Pakistani fans in UK, maybe not for ordinary Pakistani fans back home. English Cricket Board has offered Test-starved Pakistan to play their home Test matches in UK. Pakistan, who have not played a single test match in 2008 due to security concerns at home, could be playing against the likes of India and West Indies at Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Healingly. This may not be bad idea for PCB as gate receipts are likely to be higher and matches should well attended as UK hosts biggest population of expats outside Pakistan. However, the long suffering Pakistani public will have no luxury or distraction of international cricket to attend. If the proposal becomes reality, Pakistan would certainly lose the ‘home advantage’. Instead of playing on lat batsmen friendly pitches, they would be playing on green pitches under seamer friendly pitches.
The way Pakistan Cricket is being run, it’s probably a blessing in disguise for the public. After the sad resignation of Pervez Musharraf, Dr Nasim, who was appointed by the president, also resigned, leaving the board in turmoil. The temporary administration scrambled a team out to Canada to take part in a meaningless quadrangular tournament involving Zimbabwe, Canada and Sri Lanka. However, in the process they managed to lose a well respected chairman of selectors, Salah ud Din (Sallu). He argued that team that was sent to Canada was not the one he and his co-selectors had picked. It seems that intervention from up above, led to changes without informing the selectors. It’s thought that similar interposition led to Shoaib Akhtar being reinstated in the team without paying any fines. And the way Shoaib bowled in Canada, fans would have hoped that he had remained banned. Clearly unfit and looking more like a wrestler, he single handedly cost Pakistan the final with his wayward, indiscipline bowling. One hopes that we’ve seen the last of him.
After weeks of deliberation, Ijaz Butt was appointed chairman of PCB, who had been part of management team under Dr Nasim. Mr Butt wasted no time antagonising Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, eventually leading to Lawson’s sacking. It beggars belief that a coach can be sacked after only two Test series’. Sixty six year old Intikhab Alam was appointed as his replacement. I expect suffering of Pakistan public to continue in more ways than one…