DR ZAFAR ALTAF - This will be determined by the people at the helm of affairs. These days there is not one but two at the helm of affairs and they have not only politicized but made a mockery of the game. They should only look at India not only in terms of cricket but also other sports. What does it take to have a cricket team play for the glory of the country? That glory of the country is now missing largely because f the game that these two hungry for power people are playing. Both are political nominees and both are a disaster for the game.
Having said this they miss another essential element of the game and that is cricket can provide enough employment if the economics is handled well. India has its own Sialkot near Madras. Pakistan’s original Sialkot has been dead and buried largely because of the roguish behavior of Pakistani entrepreneurs. Pakistan is not preparing its youth for anything. Look around the world and you will find that the countries that are doing well economically are those that are doing well in sports. Spain is a good example. They have forgotten the 39 years of military rule and have surged forward under civilian rule. Both these persons should call it quits. Pakistan is more important than their silly egos. They never did something significant for the country but they are talking as if they are the sages that can do and undo everything.
The organisation that was stable during the time of skipper Kardar who literally developed the game from scratch but now we have the misfits trying to do something that they are not trained for despite the fact that there was a base that was left by the last incumbent. What kind of personality does the cricket board require for its chairman? Should he be a cricketer? Should he be anything but a crank? These two do not know the rudiments of the cricket playing instruments what to talk of the higher philosophy of the game. They can talk a dozen to the dime and make all kinds of false assertions. That is what they are going to give to the future generations by setting an example that is from the very beginning based on cronyism and self projection. Is it not a shame that one thing that we could excel in is lost? In 1992, we Pakistanis had four world titles. Today, we are nowhere in any of those four games. What does it take to start a competitive structure? Knowledge and some hard work are required. Not one of them is capable of writing a piece instead they have frittered away the resources that the boys had earned on their own egoistic self.
Pakistan is in danger of not understanding the implications of what they have done to sports. The danger is that the lack of sportsmen and sportswomen will create a kind of rogue personality that will never understand human endeavor. It is by inculcation of attitudes and values in sports that a nation is built. The evidence is overwhelming in Fata, Balochistan, North and South Waziristan for they play no sports and the facility for games was never encouraged. You want that kind of country to go ahead.
In the late 1960’s, I was asked to lead the North Zone Team against Riche Benaud’s Commonwealth side and the then PCB chairman Syed Fida Hussain gave me a team with five cricketers from KPK. I suggested that this was almost half the side and his reply was we have to get them on board for cricket has to be played by everyone; if you lose so what. When I got out we needed 15 runs to win with five of my friends from Peshawar to come. We lost the match by five runs! So what? The chairman congratulated me on making a fight of the match. They do not come in that category any more. Today we have midgets and dwarfs running the organisation. Cricket activity has almost come to a standstill at the club, school and college level and the real matches are no longer being played such as the Government College and Islamia College match. Where will match temperament be developed?
What is to be done? There were people then of the kind of QD Butt that ran Universal Club and there was Naqi Shamsi of the Punjab Club and Murawat Hussain of Crescent Club. There were nearly 40 nets at Iqbal Park but all gone. Pakistan will have to get its act together or the alternative is that there will be no cricket and it will die just as other sports have. Lack of activity in sports will make us like morons and our children will suffer. I am afraid that one needs a sensitive person to handle these issues and not some glib tongue user. Same was the case in Karachi, Sahiwal and Multan. In 1973, I went to Mirpur Khas where Aftab Shah [later MNA] developed a cricket stadium from his own resources. Salman Siddique as DC Gujranwala developed a stadium in the town and so it happened with Sialkot, with Faisalabad and Sahiwal but now all to no avail. These are now ghost stadiums.
Today, we do not have the PCB perform any of its mandated functions. What a pity that we should have such a lot fighting at the very top. Let this be so and you will see that the youths of this country will not be able to create anything. The stadium built at such cost will remain empty, the office that we built in a week time will remain at Gaddafi Stadium and inaugurated by ZAB will remain an office where no work is done but is full of intrigue. So be it. No angel is going to do your work. The PCB is now full of non-workers. I am afraid some of the cricketers that I know are incapable of any conceptual work. Who will bring in ideas and who will determine how to convert them into actions? These two who do not know the rudiments of the game! Guess again.