LAHORE: Former chairman Zaka Ashraf has blasted the current Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) setup for its gross mismanagement which has resulted in the chaotic and troubled situation with the Pakistan team in New Zealand after so many of its players have tested Covid-19 positive there.
“The PCB has the stance the players might have contracted the virus during their travelling from Lahore to Auckland as they were cleared in the local testing process before the departure.
“If it is correct, then the PCB should have been more careful in deciding the travelling plan of the team,” said Zaka in a statement.
“Instead of sending the contingent on direct flights from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Auckland, the PCB selected a route in which the squad stayed at different airports for hours before reaching New Zealand,” Zaka pointed out. “A chartered flight could have been another good solution to avoid any untoward situation in travelling of the squad. I don’t think a chartered flight would have been too expensive for the PCB which is paying millions of rupees salaries to its officials,” Zaka said.
“Are these highly paid officials of the PCB there to create such kind of embarrassment for the Pakistani players due to their unprofessional and irresponsible way of working?” he asked. “The situation is causing no embarrassment for hosts New Zealand but for Pakistan and PCB for its gross mismanagement,” he added.
It may be mentioned here that when Pakistan toured England last summer, the England and Wales Cricket Board had hired chartered flights for Pakistan team and showed professionalism and better management to host three teams one after other, including Pakistan, West Indies and Ireland without any controversy or chaos.
Zaka said that it was not the first time that this cricket board management has made such a blunder and is now desperately going for damage control which exposed their unprofessionalism.
He said all the players and officials should have been tested again after opener Fakhar Zaman was separated from the squad due to fever at the eleventh hour of the departure. “Though the PCB has the claim that Fakhar Zaman was separated from the squad due to fever, a fresh Covid-19 test of the entire squad should have been done, even at the cost of delaying the departure of the team to Auckland,” he contended.
Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2020