PCB sends its observations to ICC on PTT Report

Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board has sent its observations to PTT/ICC on Pakistan Task Team Report, presented in the last ICC Board Meeting held in Hong Kong. The observations points out a number of factual errors in the report and considers it a ‘scholarly exercise’ rather than being Pakistan specific.

“The entire report has been prepared without PTT ever visiting Pakistan (except for a brief chat of a few hours that David Richardson had with a few ex-players during his visit to Karachi in January 2011 or perhaps some input to PTT from Ramiz). This raises serious questions on the observations given in the report”, PCB response suggests. While a detailed response has been sent to ICC, some of the PTT observations/recommendations and PCB responses corresponding to those are:

PTT report had expressed reservations on the authority of the President of Pakistan in appointment of the Chairman PCB and members of Governing Board. PCB response states, “the circumstances in Pakistan are unique and cricket administration requires and deserves government support without which international cricket may not be able to return to Pakistan. Keeping in view the extraordinary security situation in the country, having the President as Patron of PCB adds tremendous value and comfort.” It further reminds the PTT that this system is in place since PCB became full-member of ICC and explains, “It should be appreciated that a system which has propelled Pakistan to the top of the cricket world has been in place for approximately 60 years and cannot certainly be labeled as ‘faulty’…”

About the iconic series between Pakistan and India, the PTT report has observed, “PTT understands (from the BCCI) [that India is] currently prohibited from fielding their national team in a bilateral series against Pakistan. The absence of iconic series between India and Pakistan from the current international calendar is a major loss for the global game as it is one of the sport’s most treasured assets. It is to be hoped that the successful ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final match between the two teams, which saw the leaders of both countries come together to discuss issues of mutual interest, will serve as an important step towards the resumption of bilateral cricket series. PCB response on this observation is “Whereas the Indian government issued favorable statements regarding resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries, but it seems that BCCI is still awaiting formal signal from its government in this regard.We feel that perhaps PTT/ICC should have taken a lead role in ensuring that all bilateral tour commitments are honored by India vis-à-vis Pakistan. In fact, this was also within the ambit of TOR’s of PTT. We do not have anything to suggest on record that PTT/ICC made any efforts to engage with BCCI or the Government of India in this regard.”

On PTT’s observation regarding role of Mike Brearley and Greg Chappel, PCB response states, “While we appreciate that Mike Brearley and Greg Chappell were made Ambassadors to support Pakistan cricket, we are yet to observe any endeavors from their side. Although with their standing in international cricket, they could have gone a long way in supporting cricket in Pakistan. We still welcome them to come to Pakistan and expect that they will now play a proactive role in supporting return of international cricket in Pakistan.”

Response of PCB points out number of recommendations that are incorrect, superfluous or redundant. For instance the number of contracted players mentioned in PTT’s report is incorrect and the observation of PTT that PCB does not have a Public Comment Policy is also incorrect. 

PTT report had suggested the Selection Committee to be independent of any outside influence and the Chairman’s right of veto on the selection of players to be removed. The PCB response clarifies that Selection Committee is independent and the procedure of their appointment, their domain, functions and duties are documented quite contrary to what PTT report asserts. “Regrettably, PTT did not meet the Chairman of Selection Committee to get his views. The process of selection is such that the selectors finalize a team which is sent to Chairman PCB for his formal approval. In case there are any queries with regard to any player, the same is sent back to the Selection Committee for their comments and it is entirely up to the Selection Committee to finalize the squad. They in fact sign the final squad before submitting the same to Chairman PCB for his formal approval. We therefore feel that the recommendations of PTT that Chairman PCB has the right of veto are not based on facts. The process of selection is a time tested one and has worked for Pakistan. It ensures that there are proper checks and balances in selection matters. The view that there is interference in the selection matters is therefore factually incorrect devoid of reality and henceforth rejected”

 PTT had suggested a clear criteria for appointees to the Selection Committee including a requirement of previous first class, and, preferably, international playing experience. PCB response states, “All members on the Selection Committee are either former international or first class cricketers. The Chairman of selectors is also a reputable international cricketer. PCB therefore does not agree with PTT’s recommendations that there should be a clear process for nomination of selectors and criteria when in fact the above is a process already in place.”

PTT report further suggests that Selection Committee should make recommendations on captaincy with their recommendation then being considered and ratified by the Governing Board. PCB response states, “We respectfully disagree with this recommendation. In Pakistan the system of selecting a captain is different. No reason has been given by PTT in support of its recommendation that Selection Committee is the best judge of who the captain of Pakistan should be? If this recommendation is based on what other countries follow it may not work for Pakistan. Again the authority to nominate the captain has been delegated by the Governing Board to the Chairman.”

About the Team Manager and his support staff PTT recommended, “the Team Manager should be appointed on a full time basis and the term of his appointment, subject to the satisfactory fulfillment of reasonable performance criteria, should be a minimum period of two years and other support staff should be appointed by the COO (or CEO when introduced) in consultation with the Team Manager and Team Coach. The  PCB response states, “These recommendations are probably given by PTT as ‘best business practice’ rather than Pakistan specific. To our knowledge, there are other countries that nominate managers on tour-by-tour basis and the system works well for them. Same in the case with other support staff who is appointed by the Boards. In the absence of any plausible argument in favor of change, such recommendations cannot be accepted nor implemented.” The response also clears the impression the PTT report makes when it demands a clearly documented allocation of responsibilities amongst each of the team management personnel. The PCB response clarifies, “The same is already been undertaken as no cricket board nor team on a foreign tour will be able to operate. It would have been better had PTT offered any cogent reason for making such a recommendation.”

About the role of PCB Cricket Committee PTT had recommended that it should be given more prominence in PCB’s governance structures in order to provide direction on all cricket issues and should be made responsible and accountable for considering and making recommendations to the Governing Board relating to the domestic cricket structures. PCB response states that this is “not reflective of reality”. The response elaborates “The Cricket Committee makes recommendations on various aspects of cricket like domestic tournaments, venues, playing conditions etc. The Committee’s recommendations are either implemented straight away or if required, discussed at the Governing Board meetings.”

On the recommendation of the PTT report that Internal Auditor and CFO should have separate roles, PCB response clarifies that the position of Internal Auditor and CFO are separate in PCB (except for a short period when new CFO was being hired and Internal Auditor was given the extra responsibility of Acting CFO)). Responding on the demand of Internal Auditor being responsible to Audit Committee, which should be independent of PCB the response states, “It is interesting to note that even ICC’s own Audit Committee Chairman is not independent of ICC.”

PCB hopes that now when the weaknesses in the report have been identified, required amendments will be made “for the report to reflect the true facts and reality”.

Commenting on the PCB response Chairman PCB, Mr. Ijaz Butt, stated from abroad, “I am grateful to the PTT for their work. While the intent cannot be questioned, few discrepancies can be identified in the report, which PCB consider duty-bound to rectify. I wish to reiterate the assurance of ICC to us that recommendations in the report are not directives to PCB and that it is entirely up to PCB to accept and implement these. Having consulted members of our Board of Governors, we decided to send a detailed response to ICC. I hope that it will be taken in a positive spirit.”