Ashraf is ready to lead Pakistan to a brighter future
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf has announced that he is willing to do whatever it takes to see the national squad become the top ranked team in all three formats of the game.
Pakistan have had an average year so far, starting off in amazing fashion with a 3-0 thrashing of England in a Test series, but after that, the team started to become inconsistent in their performances, which saw them lose and win series that followed.
Ashraf stated that team discipline and younger players were going to be the keys to taking Pakistan to the next level.
Ashraf noted that he would plead for a reform to occur in the PCB administration since some of the people within the board were responsible for the problems facing Pakistan cricket today.
The PCB chairman added that the board will now acknowledge the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules, which states that all member boards should have free elections and be free from political intervention.
The PCB and some national players have had heated disputes in the past, and Ashraf mentioned that he would work on restricting the amount of power players have from now on.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Ashraf said: “One thing must be ensured that the institution is bigger than the player, the PCB won’t allow any player to offset the unity in the team, and each one will have to be responsible for their own performance. I hope there aren’t any groups within the team but if there is something it will be dealt with strictly. We have given considerable latitude to players and given them the space to perform, we have been observing each and every player in the team, who is performing well and who is not. I also understand who talks a lot without producing results, so I think 2013 is the year for an overhaul and things will be better soon.”
Ashrad stated that he was determined to lead Pakistan in the right direction.
“I want to give Pakistan cricket a new direction and a future – a future beyond all the previous tragic incidents. What is required is to have a free and clean environment for cricket with no more room for yet another controversy. I don’t find any reason that Pakistan cannot be the top team in all formats. Pakistan is a very talented cricket playing country but we have to work hard to make it possible. We have short- and long-term plans but I just need time. We are focusing on youth as the current lot who is above 30 might not be as athletic in the field as the Australians are but we can make our upcoming youth a complete product, bringing them up with the best system and training,” Ashraf added.
Ashraf noted that Pakistan’s junior players needed to have more opportunities in order to excel, and that Pakistan’s ‘A’ team needed to play more matches abroad so that they can be ready whenever they receive a call-up into the national team.
Between the years of 2008-2011, Pakistan cricket hit an all time low, with disputes between senior players and the board that the then chairman refused to sort out.
“What happened in past is past. I don’t see myself criticising my predecessors. Instead I am seeing what can be done to give Pakistan cricket some stability,” Ashraf said.
In the past, the PCB has also been criticised for its chairman having almost dictatorship like powers, but Ashraf believes he does not fit into this category.
“I am big follower of democratic system but in any case there is always one man behind the gun, I don’t see any flaw in the system or in the constitution, the fault actually lies in the people who are at helm of the affairs. System is here to stay, it has to run with always a room for possible improvement. But if my working team isn’t good then definitely I will not able to perform. I tried to bring a lot of former cricketers on board and made various committees accordingly and they take decision and I only oversee and approve in light of their recommendations. I’m not involved directly nor do I take any direct decisions but I seek explanations before giving an approval,” Ashraf said.
Ashraf also confirmed that the PCB would be following the ICC rules on political interference in the board’s matters.
“We have already conveyed the details to our patron-in-chief (the Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari), we are willing to comply with the ICC provision and there is no point of ruling it out. We will make it before the deadlines approaches,” Ashraf added.
Ashraf stated that as of right now, bringing cricket back to Pakistan was his top priority.
“The incident of Sri Lanka team attack was mishandled and it could have been controlled with greater care if the PCB itself had monitored with the help of an advance team. We know proper security wasn’t there and routing arrangement wasn’t in best shape to allow the team bus. But now things have changed and we are here to own things and have learnt the lesson. I know it’s a tough task, but for how much time should we sit like this. Only waiting for the right time won’t change things but we have to plan for it. We recently have approved a mega project in Islamabad in which we have planned to build a huge stadium alongwith hotel within the premises that will allow surveillance with heavy security and teams will be carried from airport to stadium with the help of helicopters,” Ashraf said.