Calcutta: Former captain and one-time chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Rameez Raja, has slammed the Lahore-headquartered body for its “flip-flop” over Shoaib Akhtar.
President Pervez Musharraf, by the way, is the PCB’s chief patron.
“Shoaib has always had that ‘I’m bigger than the game’ attitude and the PCB has to take the rap for indecisive management,” Rameez told The Telegraph.
Speaking from hometown Lahore on Saturday, the day after the PCB banned Shoaib till an inquiry into his latest misconduct is completed, he added: “I’ve never trusted Shoaib, which is why I forced him to undergo tests when there was a suspicion he’d faked (a rib) injury during the Rawalpindi Test against India (April 2004)...”
Pakistan lost that match and the series, allowing Sourav Ganguly’s men to create history.
The post-Rawalpindi Test action was one occasion when the PCB actually took a tough stand against the most controversial cricketer of recent times.
Because of the role he played then, as the chief executive, Shoaib regards Rameez as “enemy No.1.”
“Bottomline is that the PCB has been scared of public opinion… For whatever reason the masses have, in the past, supported Shoaib... So, the PCB would play to the galleries, refusing to corner him... This time, the mood is to ban him for life... What happened in South Africa (hitting teammate Mohammed Asif) is just not acceptable... The PCB must get rid of Shoaib and not succumb either to pressure from any quarter or its own indecisiveness... The controlling body has to exercise control…
“Let’s not forget that Shoaib keeps giving the country a bad name and, when he’s in the team, the collective energy and drive gets reduced as some controversy or the other takes centre stage... Instead of adding value, he distracts others… The focus gets lost…” Rameez pointed out.
He added that Shoaib had been a “below-par” performer and that the speedster’s biggest headlines had all been negative.
Even die-hard Shoaib fans can’t dispute that.
A couple of months ago, talking exclusively in Glasgow, Shoaib had said “every controversy has made me a better person... A stronger character... I’m not immature to get into things which will affect my career...”
Shoaib showed no maturity the other day and, at this point in time, his international career is as good as over. The only ones rejoicing must be the Indian Cricket League’s recruitment managers.
Apparently, Shoaib had asked for the moon during the initial negotiations. In the changed circumstances, he may just demand a bit less.