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Is PCB flexing its muscles?

Considering both Waqar and Mushtaq have been top of the line bowlers and should know the ins and outs of batsmen, they seemed helpless to help. Even if it was fitness and injury, the coaching staff carries some responsibility

Is PCB flexing its muscles?

For long there has been a softer side of PCB when it comes to tackling officials but it seems now that Board is now preparing to get tough on all fronts. And it has started with coaches if what came out of the PCB Governing Board meeting is to be believed.

The talk was clear. The coaches will now be held accountable for the results of the team. They have to justify their positions based on results and not just good intentions it has come forth; get the team to perform or make way seems to be the mantra of the PCB now.

It has come in the wake of news that the PCB has formed or is planning to form a committee to look into what really went wrong in Bangladesh, where Pakistan were swept aside mercilessly in the limited-over games. And in the first Test, the bowlers fizzled out in the last five sessions and couldn’t capitalise on a strong lead built up by the batsmen.

Considering both Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed have been top of the line bowlers and should know the ins and outs of batsmen, they seemed helpless to help. Even if it was fitness and injury, the coaching staff carries some responsibility. It seems too much is being put on the domestic cricket system and its abject failure to throw up fit and in-form players. The second string is just not there. Even against Zimbabwe the chinks were there in what thin armour Pakistan walked out in.

If Waqar and Mushtaq blame the system then they are implying that they are helpless and in that case let’s not have any coaches. Even if it’s no fault of their own. In fact I remember when India went without a coach for a few weeks some years back; they actually performed better!

At the time former fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad looked after them temporarily while BCCI looked for a foreign coach as has been their policy since quite some years.

Right now England are going fantastic guns after firing their coach Peter Moores. They have actually shown a drastic change in attitude and are playing attacking cricket surpassing a score of 300 against New Zealand in each of their first three games of the series this summer, the first time they have done so thrice in succession in their entire ODI history. Their assistant coach is handling the reins till they find a replacement.

So if Waqar and Mushtaq and even Grant Flower feel the system is to blame then might as well save some money and let the captain and any local cricketer do the strategy and planning. Pay him of course but it will be considerable less than what is being paid collectively to Waqar, Mushtaq and Flower. In fact Grant Luden has been helpless too in keeping players fit to the extent they should be.

If the players, as it is claimed, don’t follow his training drills, well might as well let the local assistant go through the formalities of a warm up and warm down or whatever it is they call it.

I also like what is coming out from the Board on the Indian front. He has given them a clear ultimatum. Either come or PCB will make other arrangements. Though some hours after he said it the news was published in the newspapers that the Indian PM has extended a hand of friendship by calling the Pakistani PM and offering a better relationship going forward.

But it sends a clear message that enough is enough on the yes-no-maybe approach of BCCI toward playing with Pakistan other than home since 2008 when they came here for the Asia Cup. Having said that BCCI is also opening new fronts by signaling they are not comfortable being covered by the broadcaster Pakistan has given rights to since the company has been seen to be the instigator of a possible rebel league. So is it that even if the Indian government gives the go ahead for a Pakistan India series in UAE, this might just be the spanner in the wheel.

On the domestic front it seems the Board has had enough of the restructuring efforts of the past three years and wants some changes to streamline it once and for all. I think what PCB needs to do is hire a consultant with the authority to make changes to whatever has been the system over the last two years.

Otherwise with the same set of people the same set of thinking will emerge. I believe it has been big of the chairman to accept that there are faults still in the recently revamped domestic structure and as such he should be big enough to get this done externally. It will mean getting it through the Board of Governors of course which can be tricky. But if they have made him the chairman they must give him the benefit of doubt.

Sohaib Alvi

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