KARACHI: Ehsan Mani, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has highlighted that the PCB is now a stronger more trustworthy and thoroughly professional institution while he also echoed the fans’ opinions that it is time that solid team performances be converted into winning results.
In his comprehensive and high-class interview with Dawn Ehsan Mani the former ICC President repeated that the return of Test cricket and hosting of the entire HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 matches and visits of Marylebone Cricket Club, Bangladesh U-16 Boys and Women sides in the past 12 months is a testament to the PCB’s global image as a trustworthy and well-reputed cricket board.
Mani who is one of the most respected and familiar personalities in international cricket says, “You can only pass an accurate and informed judgement on the performance of the PCB when you carry out a comparative study. Although every administration tried their best during their tenures, this management has achieved what others could not, at least, in the past decade,”
He expressed optimism on the performance of the national side, that head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq now had got his feet under the table and, based on his 12-month experience, can now confirm his future strategy.
“International teams were unwilling to come to Pakistan because of the trust deficit. In 2017 and 2018, the PCB paid for the World XI and West Indies players to visit here and while I acknowledge these were ice-breakers, we have hosted four international series as part of the Future Tours Programme without offering any inducements.” He also added, “Furthermore, nearly 425 foreign players expressed interest in playing in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 with 40-odd spending nearly a month in Pakistan during the 30-match event. These players travelled around the country and returned as our ambassadors.”
He also contributed by saying, “These are clear indicators of the reputation and credibility this administration holds in the international cricket community. This is also because previously there were no strong voices at the ICC Board that could present Pakistan’s case effectively.”
Man, as he went on to elaborate about the efforts made on every front to enhance the image and credibility of Pakistan Cricket and the PCB said, “The same applies to PCB’s discussions with other cricket bodies,” “For example, Wasim Khan’s outstanding presentation on security in Pakistan to the MCC World Cricket Committee played a crucial part in the world’s most prestigious club to send a team in February. He was believed because they trusted him and there was no doubt about his credibility.”
“The involvement of some of the elite former cricketers in Pakistan cricket today is a further endorsement of our vision, strategy, reputation and roadmap for the future. It also indicates the respect we have and give to cricketers who have served this great game with honor and dignity.”
Mani added, who is the Chairman of the powerful ICC’s Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee and was also approached by a number of ICC Members to again head the global body, “During the difficult Covid-19 period and contrary to the general view, we sent our team to England that further enhanced our reputation internationally. As a result, powerful and respected voices in England cricket have spoken out in our support and favor, urging the England and Wales Cricket Board to honor its commitment to tour Pakistan in 2022.”
Though he admitted that Pakistan’s performance on the field is failed to show any improvements the men’s side has stayed sixth and seventh in ODIs and Tests respectively, but have slipped from number-one to fourth in T20Is following the annual ICC update.
They have won two Tests and lost three, won two out of three ODIs (one match was rain abandoned) and won three T20Is out of 12 with three washouts in the past 12 months.
On the other hand, the women’s side achieved fifth position (up by two) in the eight-team ICC Women’s Championship but failed to qualify directly for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2021, having to share points with India after India refused to host them for their scheduled qualifiers.
Mani in order to address the problem says, “To address this problem and bring consistency in the team’s and players’ performance, the PCB has put in place a professional management team with the men’s side whose understanding of the modern game is second to none and has a clear vision of the steps required for Pakistan to perform well consistently at the international level,”
“I believe in empowerment and that’s precisely why Misbah was given full authority and support. But he very much remains accountable and as part of his appraisal process, he will be interviewed by the PCB Cricket Committee in the coming weeks in which he will be asked to reflect on his own and team’s performances, and share his vision for the future.”