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Pakistan cricket is at its lowest point: Najam Sethi


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Pakistan's national team suffered a humiliating exit from the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy in England last month. -Photo by AP
Pakistan's national team suffered a humiliating exit from the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy in England last month. -Photo by AP

LAHORE: Pakistan cricket has reached its lowest point, its interim chief said Wednesday, calling for a string of defeats, cheating allegations, teams refusing to tour and court cases to be resolved quickly.

“Our cricket has reached the lowest ground,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) interim chairman Najam Sethi told reporters, speaking upon his return from last week's International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in London.

“We are not winning matches. We are facing allegations of cheating with our players and an umpire being banned and teams refusing to tour, so we need to address all that,” said Sethi.

Pakistan's national team suffered a humiliating exit from the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy in England last month.

Four Pakistani players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Danish Kaneria – are banned for spot-fixing.

International umpire Nadeem Ghouri was suspended for four years for agreeing to cheating, exposed in an Indian TV sting operation last year.

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf was suspended last month by a court in Islamabad on charges of controversy over his election, forcing the new government to appoint Sethi until Ashraf's case is decided.

Pakistan has hosted no top-level cricket since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009, killing eight Pakistanis and wounding seven visiting players.

Sethi said international cricket can only resume if the security situation improves.

Pakistan suffers daily violence blamed on militant groups.

“No one is ready to tour Pakistan since attacks on the Sri Lankan team,” said Sethi, a seasoned journalist who was interim chief minister of Punjab province before the historic elections in May this year.

“Every country needs assurances on security and until and unless we give them those they will not tour,” he added.

Last month, militants shot dead 10 foreign climbers and a Pakistani guide in an unprecedented attack in the Himalayas, threatening to wipe out what little tourism industry remains.

“I have talked to England and the West Indies boards for sending unofficial teams so that we can make a beginning,” said Sethi.

“I have assured the ICC and other countries that a new government has taken over and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is determined to root out terrorism and on that they agreed to review our situation, provided things really improve.”

Sethi said he is hopeful that Amir's five-year ban will be relaxed.

“I stressed that the international community needed to review his case and I am hopeful that Amirr will get 20 percent relaxation and we will hire an English lawyer to explore whatever relaxation we can get within the laws,” said Sethi.

The ICC formed a five-man committee to look into Aamer's ban earlier this week.

Amirr, Butt and Asif were banned in 2011 for contriving deliberate no-balls in return for money during the Lord's Test against England a year earlier.

Amir alone pleaded guilty in a British court which jailed all three players along with their agent Mazhar Majeed.

Appeals from Butt and Asif to the international Court of Arbitration for Sports were rejected earlier this year.

Comments (52) Closed

ebrahim Jul 03, 2013 03:45pm


Shan Jul 03, 2013 03:49pm

We dont need Aamir we need some propper batsmen at the moment Sethi sahab if you are reading this please someone needs to investigate how malick has been getting selected through out the last year without performing....Misbah should be questioned on dropping shafiq after the first match instead of malick ... and why was he playing three opners farhat jamshed and hafeez and not using akmal instead .... Someone needs to take responsibility of the failure at the Icc tournament... from what i have read nither selection comitee nor misbah has pleaded guilty of their mistakes, they both persisit that they chose the best available players.

Haroon Jul 03, 2013 03:59pm

"controversy over his election" for whom? Zaka Ashraf or Najam Sethi!!!!

Shan Jul 03, 2013 04:00pm

Sethi Sahab You should do the following:

  1. Sack the selection comitee for being biased.
  2. Sack all the highly paid non exec members like javaid miandad, Intikhab alam etc for not doing any thing and still being pai in millions.
  3. Get nomination for PCB chairman and get the election process goin asap. So someone who understands cricket and our domestic structure could become a PCB chairman... i would vote for a whistleblower like Rashid Latif who has done alot for cricket and still doing...
saad Jul 03, 2013 04:08pm

Is it a revelation?

zak Jul 03, 2013 04:10pm

The ICC should encourage 'associate' members like Holland, Ireland, Scotland, Malaysia and others to tour weak ICC member teams like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe so that they may benefit from these three teams and also allow these 3 full members to catch up with the other 7 test playing countries.

Veena Mallick Jul 03, 2013 04:15pm

You reap what you sow

Shan Jul 03, 2013 04:20pm

Selecters only go and watch finals of domestic tounaments, I feel one representative from the selection comitee should be made to come and watch the match and report on it and that report should be published on the pcb website...Otherwise how on earth are they going to find new talent. there has been so many different selectors but Ilyas khan has always been there... Please sack him sethi sahab or are you also his friend.

Shan Jul 03, 2013 04:27pm

Look at Butt, now he is pleading guilty when he knew if he didnt that his ban will be 10 years, such cheaters should never be allowed, not even for domestic, PCB should ban him for life. Sethi sahab ban him for life, so he never uses PCB's name again. People like salman butt should be tried for treason not people like musharaf....

kashif Jul 03, 2013 04:30pm

No! there is still more to go down.....Pakistan bowling is still doing well & we have to stop our bowling to perform to reach the bottomline...that

kashif Jul 03, 2013 04:31pm

No! there is still more to go down.....Pakistan bowling is still doing well & we have to stop our bowling to perform to reach the bottomline...that is the vision of PCB

TKhan Jul 03, 2013 05:09pm

Mr. Sethi, and your qualifications and understanding of cricket will take the team to the ground!

Noor Jul 03, 2013 05:09pm

@Shan: Well Said

Zafar Naim Jul 03, 2013 05:26pm

%Shan we still need Aamir as Umer Gul is about to retire. Aamir use to be a match winning bowler and still he is quite young. Yes we do need competent reliable and consistent batsmen in our side. existing lot(Azhar Ali,Asad shafiq, Nasir Jamshed,Umar Akmal, Ahmed Ahehzad and Rizwan) can reach to that level if we provide them a very professional and successful batting coach

Burki Jul 03, 2013 05:50pm

@Haroon: obviously Zaka. Sethi is an appointed interim chairman, not an elected one.

Caz Jul 03, 2013 06:41pm

In an uncanny way the state of cricket in pakistan reflects the state of the country - An international pariah! Hand on heart, pakistan must bite the bullet of its miscreation and seek a peaceful and pragmatic connect with its bigger, better and stronger part next door. Over time the historical mistake can be rectified.

izaz Jul 03, 2013 06:44pm

Given his statements from yesterday, the less Mr. Sethi says publicly the better. Just do the groundwork, and leave the ego at home.

Nadeem Mirza Jul 03, 2013 07:14pm

Aapas ki baat!! Sethi sahab, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know all that. Tell us your plan. Don't rub it in....

Shan Jul 03, 2013 08:03pm

@Noor: Thanks

Shan Jul 03, 2013 08:10pm

Team has been announced and Afridi and Umer Akmal are back. K akmal, malick and farhat are dropped....

zain Jul 03, 2013 08:21pm

He must tell to the nation and Government who are the ICC Memeber country tring to Suspend Pakistan Membership, so we'll know who is our enemy and who is real friend

Bilal Jul 03, 2013 08:39pm

@Shan: Sethi will not do the right thing since he has not come in the picture the right way. There are several right things to do and all these hand picked mouth pieces just reflect the collective sub par IQ of the nation. There is never an accountability and will never be. So, get used to it and expect the failures after failures.

Bilal Jul 03, 2013 08:38pm

Sethi does not use proper words and does not think rationally. If these are the proper word of the to journalist in the country then you can imagine about the one who are below him. PCB is a circus watch and enjoy.

Dr. Saad Jul 03, 2013 08:47pm

So for the next 5 years, we ll not see an abrasive " Ittefaq Nama". This is a sell out and the meaning of conflict of interest is lost.

unknown Jul 03, 2013 09:00pm

It seems like the writer had a hard time spelling Amir's name. Aamer, Amirr, Amir. Pick one!

Jehan Zeb Jul 03, 2013 09:23pm

Sethi Sahib, I don't understand why we are intrested in forign cricket teams visit to Pak in view of precarious security situation. Further, why you are pleading to reduce the punishment of Aamir. Let us punish the culprits to full extent and others will learn a listen.

Anees Jul 03, 2013 09:27pm

Pakistani cricket team has reached the lowest level. Oh what a revelation!! The team has been there for the past ten years. And nothing to be surprised about. Sportsmen need to be inspired. Is there one person among the ENTIRE leadership in country who we can look up to.?. Imran Khan had that kind of quality from mostly his education and he had the charisma. Imran Khan could have done so much more for Pakistan Sports and education. But then he wanted to be a politician. That was the end of him. Now a journalist (he is pretty good, I must say, in his job) and his little bird is going turn a bunch of illiterate and semi litrate young cricketers - who are more interested in making a quick buck than playing for the country- in to world class players. No way this is going to happen - even if Mr. Sethi's little bird tells him otherwise.

a Jul 03, 2013 11:15pm

@ebrahim: I totally agree.

Naj Haq Jul 04, 2013 12:17am

I agree - but so is the cricket board - ie at its lowest point :) .

butseriouslyok Jul 04, 2013 01:59am

No shortage of talent in Pakistan cricket...they are not winning because they are not trying to ... as simple as that. Why is Kamran Akmal still in the team?

Eli Jul 04, 2013 04:43am

I'm also in favour of reducing ban on Amir due to his young age but why spend tax payer's money on hiring an expensive lawyer for a cheat..

Aleem Jul 04, 2013 05:32am

@Veena Mallick: Veena Ji, your knowledge of the game is far better than rewarded Najam Sethi.

Amir Jul 04, 2013 06:58am

I you want to improve cricket in Pakistan, give the reins of PCB in Imran Khan's hands. Norhing else will make any difference.

sachin Jul 04, 2013 08:49am

This is not the lowest point. Afridi ball chewing was the real low point.

Aslam Parvaiz Jul 04, 2013 10:14am

First of all PCB need to select the team players on marit, if team players performance is well and they will won any two or more consecutive series without involves any match or spot fixing then other countries willing to play at pakistan, you know players are our ambassadors and they are reflecting our nation. if ambassadors have no sports man spirit, they do un ethical things then the whole world thinks that whole country is just like them.

Osman Siddiqi Jul 04, 2013 11:59am

Are you talking about Amir, Amirr, or Aamer? Oh you forgot about Amer Ameer Ammir and so many more...

saad Jul 04, 2013 02:00pm

Enough testing Afridi and Omar Akmal even Misba needs to retire we need new faces period.

Muddasir Jul 04, 2013 03:40pm

wellcome Shahid Bhai nd Umer Akmal.... :)

Muddasir Jul 04, 2013 03:43pm

welcome to shahid bhai ... em still waiting 4 u....:)

Bharat Jul 04, 2013 09:02pm

Mr Zaheer Abbas is the right man to lead PCB. He will take Pak team to new heights

ailly222 Jul 04, 2013 09:40pm

hello friends,

nice article written by someone having extra intelligence of cricketing matters. must appreciate Dawn for such nice and informative article.

on the other hand, Najm Sethi is another gentleman of highest caliber currently available as he was seeking some suitable placement, so he landed into a nice job.

I am quite sure he will bail out the PCB crisis in much the same way as did Ejaz Butt (another sublime chairman ).

Good to see Afridi and Umer Akmal, as long as these two are performing and remain in the team we cannot lose any ODI or T20 ( unfortunately we lost WC 2011 SF with both these greatest ODI players ever, were in the same team ). It happens even greatest of the batsmen like Hafeez can be dismissed for a zero, but its all ok, part of game.

So Najam Sethi has highlighted what Dawn is trying to say for last many many years and this can be achieved only through some nice articles never mind even if they are without material and are meaningless, but message must be conveyed be it relevant or irrelevant, its not important. The important point is we must read such articles and appreciate efforts made by media. Show must go on .....

optimist Jul 04, 2013 10:39pm

@Shan: I agree with everything Mr.. Shad has said. But I believe Miandad is working on through his personal contacts to get foreign club teams and a world XI to visit Pakistan. Only past famous cricketers should run the affairs of cricket in Pakistan. Rashid Latif and Moin Khan who runs the cricket academy should be in the advisory committee to the selection panel and Pakistan don't need a paid selection committee. Once we start picking team on pure merit and with temperament of big match, anyone who can play in a crisis situation, the results would then be totally different. Any player who fails twice should be kicked out but every member in the tour party should get a chance to show performance.

fida sayani Jul 04, 2013 11:33pm

Is it Amir or Amirr or Aamer? I have been reading DAWN since 1954 and find it disturbing that the quality of reporting has degenerated very drastically. May be the management of Dawn finds it difficult to recruit reporters with a high Standard English educational background?
May be the fault lies with the present standard of education in Pakistan.

Mark A Jul 05, 2013 02:42am

Not just cricket, Pakistan as a country is at its lowest point. The only way now is up. This of course depends on the will and strength of the general public. Its about time the Pakistani people put their differences with each other and to a large extent the world community and move forward. There should be no room for extremism, favoritism and corruption which has been a chronic disease for too long.

Muhammad Asif Jul 05, 2013 09:51am

"Pakistan cricket is at its lowest point: Najam Sethi"
yes we can understand with your appointment as cricket chief. we couldn't go any lower.

Adeel Jul 05, 2013 04:50pm

Mr. Najam Sethi, please loot plunder have world wide pleasure trips exploit as much as you can to cash in on your "reward" ... just keep your mouth shut about cricketing affairs and just go away as soon as possible. This way you will do least damage to our cricket and cause least pain to Pakistani cricket fans. Stop worrying about the teams and its performance or the deteriorating cricketing affairs ... it is all thanks to people like you only. Have some shame!!!

Adeel Jul 05, 2013 05:03pm

What an insight by Mr Sethi !!!!. Sir 170 million people have had this insight

haris Jul 05, 2013 06:57pm

It doesn't get any lower after the appointment of 'Pakistani Mir Jaffer' as PCB chief. Kudos to our people!

haris Jul 05, 2013 07:04pm

Among all the humiliating events Mr. Sethi didn't mention the unconstitutional and immoral appointment of himself as Interim PCB Chief.

Sameer Khan Jul 05, 2013 09:13pm

Mr Sethi, In case you are reading this, political appointments of cricket board chairman are the reason for the state of cricket in Pakistan. You are a case in point, what qualifies a journalist to head the cricket board? Where is the merit?

Amir Jul 05, 2013 10:33pm

@sachin: What Afridi did was a personal act. This article is about the team being the lowest performer in recent times, if not ever.

Ajit Jul 05, 2013 10:42pm

@fida sayani: Having read your comments it is clear to me that the standard of English you attained is perhaps not as good as you like to think. Nonetheless I do agree with the point you make. Ps I was educated to the age of eleven years at a time when electricity scarce. No offence intended.