x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Butt stint as Pakistan cricket board chairman has been a disaster

On and off the field, the reputation of a once-proud cricket nation has been shredded. It has become a paranoid wreck and Ijaz Butt has steered that transformation.

On Saturday, Ijaz Butt completed three years as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Under the constitution, chairmen are appointed by the country's president for three years, with the option of an extension or another three-year term available.

An extension of possibly six months is said to be under consideration.

A generous assessment of his time would have it as disastrous. On and off the field, the reputation of a once-proud cricket nation has been shredded. It has become a paranoid wreck and Butt has steered that transformation.

There has been careful handling of the financial mess that his predecessor, Nasim Ashraf, left behind, but that is the sole achievement and it will not last much longer should there be no games against India.

Captains, coaches and selectors have come and gone; now they have a chief selector playing interim coach. Players and their rights have been suppressed, and now disenchanted, they are unwilling to play for Pakistan.

All this is the lightweight stuff. It doesn't include his inexcusable behaviour after the attacks on the Sri Lanka team, or the spot-fixing crisis, for which he must bear considerable responsibility.

Speculation about replacements is intense. Butt, 73, is said to be keen to leave.

The president is said to be keener still on Butt finishing a stadium in the Bhutto family homeland of Ghari Khuda Baksh before he goes.

The identity of the successor is conjecture; what isn't in doubt is Butt's standing as possibly the worst chairman the PCB has had, a feat that takes some doing given the healthy competition.

 

osamiuddin@thenational.ae