With his three-year ban, Umar Akmal makes it to the list of players who have brought the national cricket team and the country unnecessary shame. Comparatively, the quantum of punishment seems excessive if we look at previous penalties awarded under this code – Muhammad Irfan got six months, and Muhammad Nawaz, two months. But the reason, perhaps justified, that the board came up was that it was high time for PCB to punish players severely because clearly previous punishments were not enough of a deterrence. Being at this level in any sport entails that both the cricketing structure and the players be made to revisit their relationship to unfair practices.

The PCB needs to understand that for any rules and laws to be complied with, strict punishment alone won’t do the job. Efforts to adequately educate the cricketers on the code of conduct, both on and off the field, have fallen short time and again. At best, the PCB has been reacting to these incidents in a piecemeal manner. Such failure demands from the board to review the pedagogical approaches it has adopted to educate the players. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to a robust strategy in place to inform cricketers on the code of conduct.

One would expect the PCB to have run a thorough training and mentoring strategy with emerging cricketers on the use of media and to manage their public appearance. However, the opposite of this expectation is the norm. So instead on focusing on strict punishments, the PCB will have to ramp up its efforts to educate cricketers. Our experiences with bans tell us that banning a player or two will not fix much. PCB can look at the practices in India and England. It can learn a lot of lessons from the strategies employed by the boards of these two cricket-playing nations in this regard.