PCB’s decisions are based on rationality and facts
With reference to Khalid H. Khan’s article titled ‘Sethi’s moves defy logic as vested interests prevail at PCB’ (DAWN, April 23, 2014), a PCB spokesman has clarified that the move to appoint Moin Khan as chief selector and team manager is not borne out of any “panic” as alleged by the article in question. Instead, it is a well-considered move based on logic and planning.
The DAWN report alleges that the two vital positions “demand totally different mindset”. On the contrary, the PCB spokesman pointed out that the move is aimed at empowering the chief selector/team manager to have a more definite say both in the selection of the 15 members of the national team in association with his co-selectors at home and in association with the captain and coach for the playing 11 while on tour. Previously, the practice was that manager would chair the selection committee on tour but had no power and expertise in giving any concrete input. Previously, also, the chief selector was hardly ever on tour and had no input into the selection of the 11-member team that actually played international matches. Now that the situation has changed with the combination of Mr Khan holding two key positions because he will be able to provide cricketing input as manager and the logic of the selectors will be more closely tied in with the selection of the captain and the coach of the 11-member national squad. This will make for better coordination, efficiency and remove nitpicking between the selectors on the one hand and the captain and the coach on the other while the team is on tour.
The PCB spokesman pointed out that the practice of team selection varies from country to country. In some countries, the chief selector is also a key player in the selection of the 11-member team that plays any game and the captain only has an advisory role, as for example in the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). In Pakistan, until now the captain has had exclusive authority to select the 11 members of the team and this has often resulted in controversial choices. In the current proposal, the captain, coach and manager/chief selector on tour will have joint input into the best 11-member possible team and they will be jointly responsible for this decision. The PCB spokesman added that just because the two posts have been combined for the first time does not necessarily mean that the move is intrinsically bad for Pakistan cricket considering that in the past, disputes between captain, coaches, managers and selectors on tour have erupted behind the scenes and sometimes even in public. This will put an end to such unsavoury practices and streamline the process of decision-making, accountability and responsibility.
The article in question also raises the issue of the consequences of the chief selector being on tour while domestic cricket tournaments are in place and suggests that the chief selector’s absence will have an adverse bearing on his assessment of players back home. This is not true because three selectors will already be doing the spadework while Mr Khan is away, as has been the practice since Iqbal Qasim resigned in June 2013 and PCB has been without a chief selector. The PCB selection process is always pre-tour when all the facts on the ground have been considered by the chief selector and his colleagues, and the PCB already has a list of top 30 centrally contracted players from which all selections take place. This is a yearly process based on averages of domestic cricket and performances while on tour.
The chief selector, Moin Khan, knows the game of cricket intimately having served as captain of the national squad in the past. He knows all top players in the country, both domestic and international, and does not need to be on the ground on any particular day to assess any candidate’s feasibility for any particular selection on tour.
The DAWN report also goes on to quote former pacer Sarfraz Nawaz as saying that this time “there will be no coaches-finding committee” as the PCB chief feels it is “better that he interviews the candidates himself so that he could arrive at the best possible decisions”. In the next sentence, however, the report admits that the PCB has given an official statement that a three-man committee comprising Intikhab Alam, Haroon Rashid and Moin Khan has been set up to scrutinise and evaluate the applications of various coaches etc has already been constituted. It is, therefore, surprising that instead of taking Sarfraz Nawaz to task for misleading DAWN in an earlier interview, the writer is expressing ‘astonishment’ at having done what he already wants the PCB to do.
The PCB spokesman went on to say that not only has the said report wasted space on erroneous arguments and misleading statements of cricketers, it also accuses the PCB Chairman of being misled by a “group of individuals” in the PCB. It would have been more fitting on the part of the writer to name “the men who roam in the corridors of power in the PCB” with concrete evidence to back those claims.
The article concludes by assuming that the proposed changes in the domestic cricket structure, which is on the drawing boards, would automatically somehow be against the interests of departments and cricket players. This is shocking since the writer admits he has not seen the proposals and is basing his report on heresy. He is advised to talk to Mr Haroon Rashid, Head of Game Development, to get some proper background and factual knowledge about the proposed revamping of domestic cricket structure in which the departments will play a more critical and empowered role in regional cricket. This will not lead to unemployment of cricketers in departments. It will lead to greater employment of departmental and regional cricketers in the newly constituted Regional Boards comprising nominated Directors of Departments and elected Directors of Regions.
PCB’s decisions are based on rationality and facts