So the infighting and the team’s consistent descent towards and absolute rock bottom was addressed by the PCB. For which an inquiry was made into the disastrous (a very very mild word in my opinion) showing in their tour of Australia. Yes, Australia is a brilliant side and have been right at the top for the past decade and yes that’s because they have a better setup of the sport in terms of domestic cricket and the process of proper training, grooming and cultivating of the talent down under. But having said that – the performance of the team was beyond pathetic. We looked like a side which was worse then the minnows – all things considered. It was a complete surrender – a humiliating whitewash. Not a hint of a fight back or consolidation.
So yes – the PCB responded after going through the reports – and they should have. Strict action was the order of the day and the requirement. But not merely in the team and the squad – also within PCB itself. The setup has long been demanding a revamped outlook which do the sport better in the future. Yet with the recent ‘comprehensive cull’ carried out by the board, the intent of bringing lasting and effective change in the state of affairs of the sport in Pakistan seems to not have been on the minds, but rather keeping the media and the public away from it is the more likely assumed objective.
7 players have been punished – the details of their wrong doings, the procedure and rules by which the punishments were handed out and the players’ cases’ details have not been made public and apparently will not be anytime in the future. Ijaz Butt thinks it not to be appropriate for public consumption! I am sure with all else that goes on in Pakistan, we could have easily digested what this recent chain of events had to present.
Akmal brothers and Afridi have been fined (2 – 3 Million Rs.) and put on six month probations ( I think the probation is just for Afridi and Kamran Akmal- not sure). This set of punishments I am all for. Afridi made a mockery of the team, the country and himself along with damaging the reputation and integrity of all the stakeholders with his ball biting incident (which btw was immedietally picked up by Nandos who made an ad addressing Afridi and his appetite for balls!). The thought process behind that action still boggles the mind but then .. over the course of years we have all come to love Afridi and his sight on the ground and in the team, we have also come to expect the absolutely unexpected from him. I still back him however – he is an integral, valuable and much needed part of the team (even more so now with the bans in place). As for the Akmal brothers, they definitely brought the game into disrepute with their ‘rebellion’ of sorts. The senior Akmal refusing to be dropped and the younger one feigning an injury when the senior one was dropped. This isn’t street cricket where you go around with the ideology “Meray bhai ko nahi khilaya tou may bhee nahi khail raha!”. This is the national cricket team for crying out loud, not a match being played on a sunday on some road!
Malik and Rana have been banned for a year. With Shoaib Malik the controversy of creating infighting and disharmony in the team ever since he was removed from captaincy has been there for quite some time. And I do personally think he plays a big part in the whole infighting. I have no idea as to why Rana was banned (not that I was particularly in favor of him being in the squad in the first place).
Younis Khan and Mohammed Yousuf banned indefinitely from playing for the national team, which means they can’t play for Pakistan but can continue to play domestic cricket here or anywhere else.
The last 2 have been the biggest shockers and also the biggest damages to our Test/ODI squad. Well tests more than ODIs. But also because these 2 bans in particular have completely taken everyone by surprise the most. Indefinite Bans is harsh. And for what reasons we have no idea. The simple direction that PCB has given is that there was infighting. And that when one was captain the other was not selected and when the other was captain then he was not selected. That’s not really a good enough explanation for a nation which will be hungry for a better one and detailed one!
Former players have condemned the punishments handed out in what truely has been one of t he biggest shake ups and culls carried out by the PCB in recent memory. The last time I recall when there was a major change around in the squad with a lot of seniors being axed was after the 2003 world cup ( at least to my memoy – people please correct me if I am wrong).
I personally agree with the former players that the bans, especially life bans are a bit over the top in terms of PCB to take action. If someone is not performing then they are dropped from the squad. If there are discipline problems then that is the job of the captain, the coach and the team manager to handle. The solution is not handing out bans. Fines is fine. Being axed on form is fine. This is absolutely not fine. This is way over the top. It was too much and not required. It has further damaged the sport.
The only consistency now will be that we were losing without explanation – now – we will lose with explanation!