March 15, 2010

Ijaz Butt creates unprecedented mess by banning, fining cricketers


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Ijaz Butt has been getting away with it all the time. He takes pride in declaring it more and more emphatically through his actions that he’s above board. While the others are accountable and punishable there seems no force on earth at the moment that could even contain the might of the chairman of an organization called the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Controversies have remained part and parcel of the Pakistan cricket all along but never before the law has been taken in the hands in this manner by the person who is supposed to be the torch-bearer.

There used to be odd incidents even in the days of Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Air Marshal Nur Khan but very rarely one found them getting into the act unnecessarily. They were the people for whom the national interest was paramount.

Unfortunately the national interest has been compromised by the people with the vested interests in the recent past but Ijaz Butt has exceeded all limits and only God knows how much greater damage he will cause before someone realizes his follies and fixes him.

May be, during his tenure, he would like to push Pakistan to the bottom among the Test playing nations in the manner not too dissimilar to the national hockey team that crashed in the recently concluded World Cup in India.

Ijaz Butt’s action of banning and fining cricketers has come as a shocker. More than anything else he appears to have settled scores with the players whom he considered a threat to his authority.

It’s not the issue that some of the celebrated cricketers have been banned or fined. Indeed nobody is above the law and anyone engaged in indiscipline needs to be tried and heard. The law has to take its course and the offenders have to be punished if found guilty.

Doesn’t the same apply to the team management, who were meant to control these guys? Doesn’t Ijaz Butt or his committee that recommended the severe punishment be also tried for having made a mess at the top?

The initial announcement implied that former captains Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf were banned for life. It was clarified later that the period was ‘indefinite’ and that it was not a life ban.

Shoaib Malik, another former captain, and all-rounder Naved-ul-Hasan have been banned for a year. Fines have been imposed on Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal.
Ijaz Butt is not prepared to reveal why these cricketers have been penalized so heavily. They are national assets, not the personal servants of the PCB Chairman whom he could take for a ride whenever he pleases.

If the cricketers have committed sins that were indeed ‘unpardonable’ then they must be made public. Ijaz Butt doesn’t have the right to play around with the emotions of the masses who simply love the game.

The Pakistan cricket is in the middle of another crisis and this seems most serious of them all. It’s another horrible example of bad management by a dictator.


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