Butt does not have clue about handling cricket affairs’

Mr Butt, the World Cup has been taken out of Pakistan and you have disappointed the nation, government and your team—Aamir Sohail
Photo by AP
Former Director, National Cricket Academy (NCA) Aamir Sohail has again lambasted Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt for misleading the board’s patron, the President Asif Ali Zardari, as well as hoodwinking the general masses regarding relocation of the 2011 World Cup matches.

In a hard-hitting statement issued to the press on Wednesday, Aamir said that he was amazed over the audacity of the PCB chairman to be calling Pakistanis naive while also suggesting that they are not aware of the ground realities in his rejoinder carried by the press on Sept 1.

‘Let me assure Mr Ijaz Butt that the people of Pakistan are not naive. Passionate about the sport, they are knowledgeable and fully aware of what is going on in the world of cricket. Instead Mr Ijaz Butt, with all due respect, you are the one wearing the blinkers and do not have a clue about handling the affairs of cricket domestically as well as internationally,’ Aamir said in his statement.

The former Test opener said that Ijaz, from all accounts was ill-prepared for the Executive and IDI board meetings held in April when a decision was taken to remove Pakistan as a host nation, citing security concerns.

‘It appears that Butt Sahib has no worthwhile advisers to help him evolve any strategy at all. If that’s what is lacking, it would have been prudent for Mr Butt to sit with the Governing Board members right after the Sri Lankan incident to evolve a viable course of action to tackle the ensuing crisis rather than giving them a briefing just before surrendering at the last meeting with Mr David Morgan.’

‘Mr Butt also does not seem to know the way issues at international forums are tackled, his letter to the ICC president accusing the CEO of the ICC of influencing members to support IDI’s decision to relocate matches from Pakistan does not go well with the diplomatic norms,’ Aamir added.

Aamir reminded that the PCB chairman had said in his rejoinder: ‘We must not forget that the World Cup is an ICC/IDI event and this body has the right to relocate matches outside of a host country at any point in time and their decision is final.’

But he maintains that it is a fact that Ijaz has admitted that he was naive himself because the same was documented in the Host Submission Agreement signed by all the four co-hosts, including the PCB, and which the worthy chairman did not bother to read before going to the ICC meeting.

He asked: ‘What was the haste in going into a costly wrangle when the result was a foregone conclusion. Whereas the Host Agreement does not say that in case of relocation of matches, the host country will be stripped of the hosting and participating fee?’

The former NCA director also alleged that the ICC forced the PCB to withdraw the court case. Otherwise it would not only deprive the PCB of the hosting fee but also claim the legal cost of the case.

‘Ijaz Butt could have saved a huge amount of Rs7 million wasted on hiring a foreign lawyer. Had Mr Butt or any of his advisers read this Host Submission Agreement earlier, better sense would have prevailed in preventing the PCB from moving the court against the ICC,’ he said.

Taking strong exception to the rejoinder, Aamir criticised the clumsy manner in which the tragic March 3 incident was handled by Ijaz. He added it was a major contributory factor in the subsequent developments vis-a-vis 2011 World Cup.

The co-hosts of the World Cup were not contacted after the incident despite strong advice from some of his staff. Instead he castigated the match referee Chris Broad, which did not go well in the world cricket regulatory body.

Aamir said the PCB didn’t carry out even an in-house discussion to fix responsibility.

He argued foreign teams were reluctant to visit Pakistan on security concerns and Sri Lanka was only lured to come and play here amid assurances of provision of presidential-level security to them.

MoUs were signed with the provincial governments in Sindh and Punjab in order to make sure that whatever is promised to the Sri Lankan team was fully provided because a lot hinged on the successful completion of the Sri Lankan team’s tour to Pakistan.

Aamir alleged that the PCB didn’t show any interest to interact with the government to ensure foolproof security for the visiting team.

Aamir also recalled that a couple of days ago, the PCB Director HR and Administration Wasim Bari, while talking to a television channel, threw the whole blame of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus on the president of Pakistan and the state.

‘Now when Ijaz Butt blames his own government for the mishap, how can he go on a foreign forum and convince the foreigners there with such kind of statements about the PCB not having anything to do with the attack on the Sri Lankan team?’

Aamir while reminding Ijaz Butt about the incompetent and regrettable manner in which the whole sorry episode was handled, said: ‘Mr Butt, the World Cup has been taken out of Pakistan and you have disappointed the nation, government and your team.

‘Any self-respecting chairman would have stepped down in such circumstances,’ Aamir opined.


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