A View from Midwicket: Games politicians play
by Daily Times

Event:India in Pakistan 2003/04

DateLine: 27th July 2005


The Senate Standing Committee on Sports and Culture's probe of the Pakistan cricket team's humiliating defeat at the hands of India in Pakistan last year has spread its tentacles to the extent of launching a vendetta against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its Chairman Shaharyar Mohammad Khan.


Fed by some disgruntled former PCB officials and ex-national captains, Senator Enver Baig and company are drumming up a campaign for Shaharyar Khan's resignation and to achieve this objective have crossed all limits of decency. Quite apart from questioning the board's financial affairs, monthly expenditure on electricity, gas, water and telephone bills for Shaharyar Khan's residence are also being probed. This is absurd and most certainly does not come under the purview of the Committee's domain. One wonders what such irrelevant details have to do with the enquiry started in 2004.


Senator Kamil Agha, who had moved the motion for the enquiry, has accepted that Pakistan's defeat was related only to cricketing reasons. Senator Enver Baig, Dr Firdous Kausar and Murad Ali Shah do not share that view. It is also apparent that the senators have still not forgiven Shaharyar Khan, a nominee of President General Pervez Musharraf (the patron-in-chief of PCB) for not entertaining and sponsoring their 'joyride' to India to witness Pakistan-India one-day international matches held from April 2 to 17.


Since Shaharyar Khan took over PCB, Pakistan cricket has shown an upward trend which has invited much praise. Relations with India have vastly improved after the successful home series. Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and his charges have performed with credit in Australia, India and West Indies. The appointment of English coach Bob Woolmer will hopefully prove to be a step in the right direction. Central contracts were awarded to senior cricketers for the first time. A new constitution of the board has been drafted and is pending the patron-in-chief's approval. Domestic cricket has been revamped and much colour has been added to it.


The questions that need answers are: what are Senator Enver Baig and Company up to? Why are they waging a futile war against the board and its chief? What are the benefits to Pakistan from their actions? The answers are, to my mind, quite simple: Publicity and nuisance value! It is time the President of Pakistan intervened to stop the Senators from interfering unnecessarily in PCB's affairs.


If going after PCB is not enough, the senators have now turned their attention to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and an uncomfortable time should be in store for Tariq Kirmani. I expect after Pakistan's failure to win a medal in the last Olympic Games, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) will be next on the mat. And since there is every possibility that other nations may be better than Pakistan in most sports played at the international level, the intensity of such probes will be ever increasing to the extent that it will not be long before the nation will draw away from sophisticated sports to give way to indigenous pastimes like Gulli Dunda (Top Cat) and Kabaddi (Hoo-tu-tu). It would be well nigh impossible to manage sports bodies with politicians breathing down their necks.


This article appeared in The Daily Times, 24 July 2005

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only. This article is published courtesy of Daily Times
Copyright © 2005 Daily Times)


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