LAHORE: Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Khalid Mahmood, former Test pacer Aaqib Javed and ex-Test umpire Mian Aslam, while welcoming the resumption of Test cricket in Pakistan after ten years, raised their voice against inconsistent policies of the PCB which they said have lowered the standard of the game in the country.
Talking to reporters at the LCCA ground while being chief guests at a local tournament’s opening ceremony, Khalid said: “The resumption of Test cricket is the result of the efforts launched by the PCB and in the past similar efforts were also made which brought back international cricket and now the resumption of Test cricket is the result of all that collected efforts.
“And it is also good that the same country Sri Lankan sent the team for the Test series, which met with sad incident of terrorists (in2009). And when the other countries will know the Sri Lankan cricket team toured Pakistan successfully it will persuade them too to come to Pakistan,” Khalid said.
To a question, Khalid, however, expressed concern over the new trend introduced in the PCB of paying very heavy salaries to its key officials.
“Through media I came to know that PCB’s key officials are receiving unprecedentedly huge salaries,” Khalid said. “Look this money is earned by cricketers and most of the budget of the PCB must be spent on cricketers, grounds, and cricket related equipments instead of paying hefty salaries to the officials, which I believe have no major role to run the game,” he argued.
“The money comes through sponsors and gate money just due to the cricketers and not due to the officials, so first right is of the cricketers,” he said.
“In our tenure most of us were working on honorary basis as we love cricket and the standard of the game was also high. Some key officials were getting just few thousands as monthly salary. But now the level of salaries is far up against living standard in Pakistan,” Khalid said.
“There are three tiers of cricket, the first is grassroots level, second first-class and then comes international cricket. Until and unless you will not make heavy investment at the club cricket you will not find out competitive cricketers,” Khalid asserted.
He also regretted that the end of the departmental cricket also caused financial losses to the cricketers. He said former Pakistan captain and president of then BCCP Abdul Hafeez Kardar brought in departmental cricket as he believed that with financial problems at home, no cricketer could excel and that policies helped Pakistan a lot to raise the standard of the game, especially in 70s and 80s.
Meanwhile, Aaqib also welcomed the return of Test cricket in Pakistan but he also expressed his concern over the poor performance of Pakistan team at international level. He advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to end the politics in the PCB by make it an independent body as he (Prime Minister) was also the blunt supporter of ending the politics from the PCB. He said the end of departmental cricket had deprived the cricketers of financial benefits. He said top cricketers were getting around half a million from their departments per month but now they would get only few thousands, just if they would play a match in the Quid-i-Azam Trophy.
Moreover, Aslam also raised his voice against the PCB policies, under which the club cricket was suffering a lot. He was also worried over the trend of the franchises of the Pakistan Super League of promoting those cricketers, who were fond of playing tape-ball cricket.
“None of the six franchises are giving attention to strengthen the club cricket by organizing any club tournament, instead they are promoting tape-ball cricketers and they are also causing damage to the Pakistan cricket,” Aslam said.
He further said the PCB had suspended the regional cricket associations’ set up on Aug 19, this year, under his new constitution and with that it had also ordered all not to hold club cricket.
“So since August 19, no club level cricket tournament at district or region level is being held and what will happen at the club cricket level when there is no activity for the last five months,” he asked.
“When you have no alternative plan to replace it with old one why you have suspended club level cricket for everyone,” Mian Aslam asked.
He urged the PCB to immediately announce the new domestic cricket set-up based on provincial and city basis, under its new constitution, to put the domestic game back on track.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019