x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mentality in Pakistan cricket needs changing

Zaka Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, will need his players to embrace professionalism before they can command the respect of the international community.

Zaka Ashraf, left, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, seen here with the captain Misbah-ul-Haq, needs to change the mindset of his players. Arif Ali / AFP
Zaka Ashraf, left, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, seen here with the captain Misbah-ul-Haq, needs to change the mindset of his players. Arif Ali / AFP

The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has pledged an "overhaul" in the coming months and promised to move the game in a "new direction" and towards a better "future".

In an interview with ESPN Cricinfo, Zaka Ashraf made an honest appraisal of cricket in his country, recognising every ailment that seems to hold back the team. They are currently placed fourth in the ICC Test rankings, sixth in one-day internationals and fifth in Twenty20s.

They have just one ICC title since winning the 1992 World Cup – the 2009 World Twenty20 – and their passionate fans certainly cannot be satisfied with that. To make matters worse for them, the team have been involved in a plethora of controversies.

And it continues. Last week, the PCB announced that Abdur Rehman had failed a dope test while playing for Somerset in England. The left-arm spinner tested positive for cannabis and has been given a 12-week ban.

At 32, Rehman has been around the "professional" circuit for a few years now. But his behaviour suggests Rehman either does not value his cricket a lot or believes the laws are for lesser mortals. Changing this mentality will be Ashraf's biggest challenge. This malady is often visible on the ground as well, in their kamikaze batting and amateurish fielding.

Pakistan can live, and have lived, with the infighting and cliques. International cricket will eventually return to the country, but if a senior member of the team goes around smoking cannabis, they will never get the respect they deserve.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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