"ICC is trying to meddle in the affairs of Pakistan cricket" : Javed Miandad
by Amir Husain

Player:KP Pietersen, Waqar Younis
Event:ICC World Cup 2014/15, Pakistan in Bangladesh 2015, Pakistan in New Zealand 2014/15

DateLine: 18th May 2015


With thanks to for the following interview.


Former Pakistan captain and a man known for his forthright views on Pakistan cricket, Javed Miandad spoke to about the alleged influence of the International Cricket Council on Pakistan cricket, on how ex-cricketers can help improve Pakistan cricket with PCB's help, the hype surrounding the proposed India-Pakistan series and the treatment of Kevin Pietersen at the hands of the ECB. Can you please explain the reason behind your recent remarks about ICCís unwelcome influence on Pakistan cricket?
Javed Miandad: I stand by what I said. In my view, the ICC is trying to meddle in the affairs of Pakistan cricket with no positive result. They have absolutely no idea about what is good for Pakistan cricket or who, for that matter is running cricket in our country and how effective that management is.


All they keep on insisting is that Pakistan should have a democratic system in PCB without any regard for what that system is producing. We have had a system in place for forty years or so. We were producing world beating cricketers and teams. Now the ICC are more interested in systems of government but do they know that in Pakistan we buy and sell votes? How will the ICC account for that? All they have are just empty slogans which do not help us at all. They have now helped install a system of governance in the PCB which is untenable in Pakistani terms where a person can simply become a president based upon his influence and nothing else. ICC has no business interfering in internal matters of the PCB or other member boards.


The fact is that countries like England, Australia, and New Zealand have well established democratic traditions but clearly that is not the case in Pakistan. We have had a system that was working but now we have nothing. We have incapable people at the helm and the results are for all to see. Do you not agree that the ICC is doing a reasonable job in running the game and surely Pakistanís own problems cannot be blamed on anyone else?
Javed Miandad: The ICC is not doing a great job in running the game. They spend more time and money in useless ventures such as the ACSU. Millions were spent on running it but where is it now? The ICC and its employees are living off the money contributed by its members so they really are not worried about doing anything too different. Instead of having some reputable ex-cricketers at the helm of the ICC, we have some unknown people running the show. Why not bring players like Ian Chappell or other players to head the ICC? How can they ever know whatís in the best interest of cricket when they havenít successfully played the game at the highest level? Look at the state of Pakistan cricket today. We have suffered a heavy loss in Bangladesh and our ODI rating is at its lowest. In the old days, the president of the PCB would be apprehensive about his position as he would be worried that he could be removed for the teamís poor performance.


Now, with ICCís insistence, we have a system where the Chairman isnít worried about being ousted and neither do his cronies. No one can remove this person and he is answerable to no one. So what have we gained? If the ICC wants to do good then they should take over these boards and run cricket completely so that they understand the excesses that take place in the name of governance in Pakistan. Why not run the system in Pakistan and then understand what we face here! We all know that in our country only an iron hand can help bring order to the game. Notions of a soft approach have no place in our world. Pakistan cricket does not even have a playersí association but the ICC has no opinion on that! A players association is the best way to safeguard player rights but it does not exist in this country or is not allowed to be formed but the ICC ignores this. An organization such as that would have kept the PCB on its toes but it does not exist in Pakistan.


The PCB should have been run by former cricketers and not journalists or diplomats and the ICC should have insisted on this point, rather than empty slogans about democracy which have done nothing to improve the game in Pakistan. I even feel that the ICC should be guaranteeing the safety of players and encourage teams to go to Pakistan instead of just standing back and doing nothing as teams renege on their commitments. This is what the ICC should be doing. Pakistanís recent form in ODIs is a matter of concern, what is the reason for this slump in form?
Javed Miandad: What's the point of looking at the current team and analysing performances? Instead we should look at the system which brought such players to the top of Pakistan cricket. We have street cricketers with no real technique or temperament playing at the top level without any real development. This is because there is so much nepotism which elevates these players to the highest level. We have cricketers with a handful of wickets in domestic cricket bowling for Pakistan. The same applies to some of the batsmen. This is the system that puts players with hardly any experience like Mohammad Irfan to play for the national team. We have a system where there is talk of underhand payments to get kid's into school teams so you can just imagine what type of players are being produced and sent up to the national level!


Look at the setup in Karachi. For a city of that size, you should have something close to a thousand clubs from which the cream of the crop can be chosen to move up into first class cricket and beyond. Instead of that we have zones where the number of clubs is limited to something like twenty five clubs. How can a large population ever have a chance of fairly competing for places in these clubs? No wonder you have nepotism and corruption to get people into a small number of clubs. Then you wonder why we are where we are in the ICC Rankings? You paint a bleak picture for the future of Pakistan cricket but surely we have ex-cricketers like you who can step up and help?
Javed Miandad: I agree that ex-cricketers should help but when are they given opportunities in this country? On that topic let me say that our ex-cricketers should follow the example of some of the Australian cricketers who after performing so well for their country go to their provincial or state teams and help improve the quality of cricketers in those areas. Wouldnít it have been great if Waqar Younis would have gone back to Vehari and helped discover the next fast bowlers from that part of Pakistan? Or if Inzamam could produce the next record breaker from Multan? These are how players can help the country but they also need a good system or organization to work with in Pakistan. The PCB should be saying to them ďgo back to your roots, develop players and we will pay you for thatĒ. Sadly that will not happen. Speaking of Waqar Younis, how tenable is his position after Pakistanís latest drop in the rankings?
Javed Miandad: Let me be clear and say that the Pakistan team isnít a finishing school for talented players who can improve. It is expected that a finished product should come to Waqar and he should merely provide strategic direction to the team. Instead we have a situation where he is working on simple technique issues with players or worrying about their discipline. We have players at the national team level who have basic fitness issues. How can such players rise to the top in any other country?


The discipline issue, incidentally is caused when there is no direction or guidance for players. In my time as an Under 19 player, my parents were my mentors. They advised me on basic norms of behaviour down to even the way I was to hold a knife and fork when eating out! Some of these players have risen from a background where a hundred here or there gets them into the national team. They havenít earned their place in the team and that is the problem. There is a lot of noise about the India-Pakistan series at the moment. Are you buying into this hype?
Javed Miandad: Look the fact is that these series are decided by the mood of the governments and not based upon any other consideration. Having said that, I have to say that I am shocked that the Indian government has agreed to this series with such ease. Could there be another motive? Should Pakistan say no because in the past we were treated badly? If it is just money which is the motivation to play against India, then letís not stoop to that level.


It is undoubtedly a big occasion whenever these teams meet but I am not sure about the motives and most of these series happen or not happen to please the public. My view is that India dislikes playing Pakistan in series because losing to Pakistan causes a lot of problems back home so letís see if this series will happen or not, despite the public assurances. Do you feel that a player of the calibre of Kevin Pietersen has been unfairly dealt with by the ECB?
Javed Miandad: The first thing I would like to say is that the ECB should not be destroying a professional cricketer in this fashion. He has served the England team for many years and instead of excuses he deserves to be told by ECB why they won't pick him. He should be given solid reasons and given the opportunity to rectify any such behaviour issues. He is a great cricketer and one of my favourite batsmen. International cricket needs entertainers like him. The ECB should be looking at his utility for the countryís team and forget about other issues as they are irrelevant and can be solved with a little more thought. Pietersen plays for England and that is all that matters. Remember that players like Sir Ian Botham also had issues in the past but no one could doubt his cricketing ability and he was put to good use by England.


The fact is that ECB have no issues with his cricketing skills. The problems are elsewhere and if the ECB have made up their mind to not select him over non-cricketing issues then they should say and let him go earn his living doing something else. He is playing county cricket and is therefore eligible to play for his country so he needs to be told clearly that they will not select him regardless of how well he does in domestic cricket. I would say this criteria for selection should be applied to all players worldwide. If they are playing and performing well then no other consideration needs to be taken for selection.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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