The Chief Election Commissioner, Justice (retd) Fakhrudin G Ebrahim, over 85 years of age and popularly known as Fakhru Bhai, was too honest and weak to tackle the election mafia including rogue elements in his own organization in the May 2013 general elections. After his dismal failure to hold transparent elections, the practice of appointing aged veterans to run key national institutions should have been discontinued.

Is the incumbent 80 year old Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar M. Khan the Fakhru Bhai of Pakistan’s cricket? A thorough gentleman, Shaharyar who now heads the country’s cricket affairs for the second time is widely respected for his integrity and past services to the country in foreign affairs.

But it seems that the helpless Shaharyar Khan too cannot resist the powerful cricket mafia that influences critical decision making and seems to have virtually taken over PCB’s headquarters. Is he really in control of the PCB? Was he unaware of the doubtful credentials of certain former cricketers who were appointed chief selectors or coaches of the national cricket team? Why did he shun their advice and warnings against letting such players get into team management for the World Cup?

The disgraced chief selector Moin Khan may have apologized to the nation for betraying his countrymen’s trust for it was indeed conduct unbecoming of him to visit a casino during the competition. Simply recalling him is not enough, he should be banned for life from holding any assignment in the future related to Pakistan cricket.

Pakistanis would not be disappointed if our team went down gracefully after giving a tough fight to formidable opponents. However, the nation is justified in its anger at the reckless manner in which players throw away wickets or drop catches in critical matches that clearly point towards a deliberate effort to lose the game.

Cricket lovers have been watching this pattern in many crucial matches especially in the few previous World Cup matches against India that raised doubts about the credibility of these matches the world over. In the current World Cup, the Afghan and Ireland cricket teams seemed to have impressed more than Pakistan with their determined performances in the World Cup.

World cricket in general and that of Pakistan in particular no longer remains the game of gentlemen. Gone are the days when Pakistani cricketers played for the glory of the sport and strived to win laurels for their country.

Those were the days of cricketing giants that saw a different breed of educated cricketers like Hafeez Kardar, Imtiaz Ahmed, Zaheer Abbas, Majid Khan, Imran Khan and the Muhammad brothers (to name a few) who not only excelled in every department of the game but were known for their integrity, discipline and ethical standards.

Today corruption is too deep rooted in Pakistani cricket where cricketers barring a few exceptions play more for the lust to fill their bank accounts through dishonest means on and off the field than to uphold the country’s honor. We have reached a stage where witnessing our cricket team in action is considered a sheer waste of time for it cannot be known whether we are watching a genuine or fixed game.

It is unfair to put all the blame on Pakistani cricketers for the all round administrative, moral and ethical degradation that has engulfed Pakistan’s cricket. When controversial administrators like Najam Sethi with no cricketing background and knowledge of the game are appointed key posts in the PCB on political considerations, then it is naive to expect the desired level of transparency and meritocracy in cricketing matters.

Only Nawaz Sharif and Najam Sethi know the secret behind Sharif’s extraordinary generosity and strong backing for Sethi to remain entrenched in the PCB. The future of Pakistan’s cricket perhaps does not matter.

It was expected that in light of Justice (retd) Malik Qayyum’s report and his recommendations, certain players involved in corrupt practices would not be allowed to get anywhere near Pakistan’s cricketing affairs, let alone be appointed on sensitive posts to manage or select the team. Unfortunately, some of those black sheep managed to creep into the system duly patronized by the well entrenched cricket mafia.

When team officials including former cricketers with tainted backgrounds are entrusted with the sacred responsibility to administer and manage cricket team affairs while on foreign tours, the corruption virus will spread even amongst young and promising newcomers in the team. The players from humble backgrounds and low education levels fall easily prey to financial temptations.

After the national uproar in the wake of our team’s pathetic initial performance in the current World Cup and the Moin Khan debacle, the PCB hierarchy including Shaharyar M. Khan and Najam Sethi do not deserve to remain at the helm of Pakistan’s cricket. While these top PCB officials will not resign voluntarily, the government is unlikely to consider any harsh action till our team returns home.

Even otherwise, the PCB needs complete revamping and overhaul. Like many other decaying national institutions, the PCB too, suffers from a crisis of leadership, governance and ethics. It needs a thoroughly honest and upright professional leadership either from the cricketers’ community of the past or a retired military man of the exceptional vision and caliber of late Air Marshal Nur Khan to restore sanity and discipline in our cricket through exemplary governance as well as defeat the corruption mafia.

The government should order a special all round audit of PCB through a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that should include independent accounting experts, representatives of elite intelligence agencies (ISI/ IB) as well as known senior cricketers with clean reputations. PCB should be cleansed of all political appointees who may have a behind-the-scenes role in patronizing corruption in the game.

The nation must know how and where the billions of rupees were being spent including the extraordinary perks/ privileges to PCB officials in the country and on foreign tours, the racket of central contracts to cricketers/ cronies and awards of domestic/ international contracts related to advertisements, cricket media rights etc.

The JIT must also investigate the assets in the country and abroad of PCB officials as well as team management and their families to confirm the abnormal accumulation of wealth and linkages with the cricket mafia.

After the World Cup, our national cricket team should undergo major surgery. Let us rid the team of players who are past their prime, those who are known to be habitual blackmailers and parasites and have held Pakistan’s cricket hostage by creating their indispensability to toe the cricket mafia’s interests. Let us prepare a new team and revive the glorious traditions of Pakistan’s cricket of the 60’s and 70’s.