LAHORE: While criticising Pakistan Cricket Board’s plan of abolishing departmental cricket teams and confining domestic first-class structure to six teams, former captain Aamir Sohail has urged the PCB to first remove those who have been enjoying sway for making key appointments like chief selector, captain and head coach.
“The PCB has been considering the policy of a domestic structure based on six [provincial] teams just on one person’s whim. However, it is just rhetoric because the fact is that Pakistan has loads of talent but [with the new structure] you are going to squeeze it, which will not work,” ex-chief selector Aamir told reporters during his visit to the Dar Hockey Academy here on Saturday.
“First of all, the departmental teams were formed in the past as per the state policy, not by any government. And to change a state policy you have to go through the parliament to discuss it at the length,” the 52-year-old Aamir explained.
“Ideally, the idea of six teams should first have been floated before the general body of the PCB and then before the BoG. In the end it should have been sent to the government. But [unfortunately] all unconstitutional ways are being adopted to undo a state policy on just one person’s whim,” Aamir continued.
“If the PCB disaffiliates the departmental teams, these organisations will no longer run their sports department which means that they will also close down the teams of other sports because the departments are primarily getting mileage through the game of cricket,” the former left-handed opener who played 47 Tests and 156 ODIs, cautioned.
“Back in 2004, we experimented with a seven-team format in first-class cricket. However, since then gradually the number of outfits have increased, which now stands at 16. It is because of the demand of the game in the masses.”
Aamir emphasised that instead of abolishing departmental teams the system should be made stronger.
“They [PCB] want to make changes [in domestic structure] on the pretext of quality but don’t forget that quality comes through quantity. Instead of sidelining departmental cricket we have to make our current system more competitive as the same system had made Pakistan champions in the 1992 World Cup, 2009 World Twenty20 and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy,” Aamir reminded.
Commenting on the appointment of managing director at the PCB, Aamir said it was unconstitutional underlining there was no such post in the PCB constitution.
“If you have switched to MD from COO [chief operating officer] then what is the COO doing in the PCB? It means you are compromising on the affairs and for this reason I am asking there is a need for the PCB to first correct itself before deciding to change captain, chief selector or coaches in the name of change,” he said.
“After all the PCB appointed Mickey Arthur, Sarfraz Ahmed and Inzamam to their respective positions. Now where are the officials who made these appointments? They should be held accountable. However, [it seems] no one in this regard will be held accountable and compromises will be made,” he regretted.
“Again the PCB will make a committee to refer its recommendations but again the PCB will see same debacles but it will never try to learn the lessons,” he said.
Asked if he would accept the role of chief selector as there were rumours about it, Aamir said he would not join the PCB in its current set-up.
“I would like to make my contribution but not with such a system. First, the PCB put its house in order otherwise there is no need to join the Board, just to resign because of the dirty system.”
Responding to a question about replacing Sarfraz as captain, Aamir said no one was groomed to take the reins.
“Who has been groomed to replace Sarfraz?” he asked the questioner. “There has been no vice-captain [of national team] in place; with whom will you replace Sarfraz? For this reason I am emphasising that first the PCB has to put its house in order.”
Meanwhile, Aamir lauded hockey Olympian Tauqir Dar for his services in keeping the struggling national game of Pakistan alive. Aamir said more people would join him in that noble cause but added that unless the government came out to patronise the sport it would be hard to expect improvement in future.
Speaking on the occasion, Tauqir said he was running the academy without charging any fee from students.
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2019