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Managerial challenges to PCB

It was a strange decision — albeit a radical one — for the Chief Selector to also wear the Manager’s suit

Managerial challenges to PCB
Moin Khan

It was a strange decision in the first place albeit a radical one. But by management theory it was one that always went against the grain: the Chief Selector also wearing the Manager’s suit. Many cricket boards have sent chief selector or one of the selectors on tour. But I don’t remember any of those doubling up as manager, which requires a different set of skills.

So Moin Khan is likely to have his managerial stint cut short and after the Australian tour is likely to remain head of the selection committee only. Sensible under the circumstances. Moin is hardly the manager type and already the role is being performed by the assistant manager.

Going by PCB’s love for overstaffing, we can expect that it will not reduce the staff and probably add a full-fledged manager.

When the previous chairman Najam Sethi had given Moin the dual role I wrote that it was quite the unmanageable arrangement.

The manager is one of the four selectors on tour besides coach, captain and vice captain. Now imagine a player that the chief selector has fought for to be on the tour and that does well in a side game but is not picked because the manager (also chief selector) is outvoted 1-3 on his selection in the final eleven.

The minutes of the tour selection committee meeting have to be confidential and there can be no public divisions over selection.  So the manager (chief selector) cannot reveal who voted against the player. But yet he has to face him. Now either he will lose face and sound like a hypocrite or be seen as a weak chief selector whose logic the coach, the captain and the vice captain don’t agree with.

Chances are that the manager will spill it out in private to the player. This then goes forward to the player’s best friend in the team and is naturally then all over the dressing room.

Moreover, only the manager is allowed to carry a mobile phone in the dressing room. In this case the manager is also the chief selector. What is the rule here? Is the chief selector allowed to carry a phone into the dressing room while the game is on?

Further, the manager is the go-to man when the captain has an administrative or even personal problem. The same goes with other players. But Moin recently became controversial by backing Shahid Afridi as a future ODI captain behind the scenes. Whether he tried to convince Misbah to play when the captain decided to opt out of the third ODI is not officially known but chances are that he would have nodded his head. By reportedly standing next to Afridi when the ebullient T20 captain told PCB to pick now who the future ODI captain should be obviously irked the chairman, who has time and again said that Misbah will stay till the World Cup at least.

Shahid Afridi (left) and Misbah-ul-Haq

Shahid Afridi (left) and Misbah-ul-Haq

Now Shaharyar Khan who had already said upon taking over as chairman PCB that it is inappropriate for one man to be holding two important positions is likely to separate the powers.

Keeping in mind Shaharyar’s near four-decade experience in the diplomatic corps and having twice been the manager himself for Pakistani teams touring abroad, he must also wince at seeing the less diplomatic Moin wearing that hat.

But it is the other main decision referred to a committee that is important to follow. That is the reported appointment of Najam Sethi as ICC President-nominee. I say that because the committee is headed by Chairman PCB with secretary IPC, Ijaz Chaudhry, Iqbal Qasim, Shakil Sheikh and Mansoor Masood Khan being the other members.

If someone so influential like Najam Sethi is not there then it points to him being considered, as it is unlikely that the committee would appoint from among its own.

Najam is an enthusiastic person and wants challenges. But he has never been connected with cricket before he was appointed PCB Chairman. He then gave out immature statements like wanting to travel with the Pakistan touring side and being in the dressing room to see what goes on so that he can better understand cricket. Then he has hardly been in any executive position due to the court order, and was actually the man who gave the positions of manager and chief selector to one man.

The man by his own account is learning the hows and whys of Pakistan cricket and for all practical purposes has worked only a few days as PCB Chairman. And here he is being considered as Pakistan’s cricket representative to the place where the best minds of cricket meet. What respect will he gain in the hearts and minds of the other boards? They will obviously welcome him and have nice words to say for him officially but behind closed doors they must be wondering how politicised PCB has become.

Yes, it is a ceremonial position, but it is after all an appointment that rewards a man for his services to Pakistan cricket. Could not Majid Khan or Rameez Raja have been given the opportunity? Or someone more corporate linked who can make even a ceremonial post into a working one like Arif Abbasi or Ehsan Mani? I mean these people have already been selected in the past by ICC on their committees to look into various aspects of world cricket.

By opting out, Najam will disprove those who feel that PCB has been hijacked politically. He would set a fine example by taking him out of the race and gain respect the way he did by withdrawing his name from a future chairmanship of PCB.

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