PCB' non-stop nonsense

Written by: Vineesh Krishnan
Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2004, 14:05 [IST]
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The never-ending soap opera that is Pakistan cricket has offered cricket lovers and non-lovers non-stop entertainment for the last few months. All the classic dramatic instances have been enacted. Had Shakespeare been alive, he would have produced another masterpiece. The only confusion for him would be to decide the antagonist and protagonist.

There is little to discern between characters. All are villains with cricket being the victim. Of course, there are guys like Azhar Mahmood who dared to deliver from the rooftop the classic dialogue, 'How many players have been ruined by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in this decade?' . But that too stemmed from the frustration caused by being ignored constantly.

The main plot was the Shoaib Vs (Pakistan Cricket Board) PCB struggle. There were excellent sub-plots as well. The Shoaib-Inzamam rivalry, Imran-Shoaib love affair, Shoaib eloping to Durham and Shaharyar's flirting with Durham. There was PCB's medical inquiry commission and a Pakistan parliamentary committee to add comic relief.

Of course there were comedians like Rameez Raja and Javed Miandad, who are versatile geniuses on their own accord. Ramiz was a TV commentator and the CEO of PCB at once. And he claims that he was being CEO of PCB out of charity and that he did not misuse the position to gain extra mileage in his other profession, which is his bread and butter. Miandad turned out to be a stout opposer of computers and technology, much worse than the Communists of Kerala. It appears some computers had harassed him during his childhood because otherwise there is no reason to hate computers like he did, even those running on Windows with a penchant for hanging at the drop of a pencil.

It all started with the power struggle between the ultra-modern Shoaib Akhtar with an ability to speak in two accents and Inzamam-ul-Haq struggling to cling to tradition. Akhtar, who referred to his parents as 'backward' must have been a thorn in the flesh for Inzamam, an 'uninspiring captain' according to PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan. The plot reached the climax when Shoaib sat out the third day of the third Test citing injury. It appears Inzamam coaxed him to go out and bowl and Akhtar replied in some unpleasant accent. Pakistan lost the series and the PCB wrote the script for the next part.

The villain in this part was supposed to be Shoaib Akhtar who was accused of feigning injury to skip playing against India. The bulls, a medical inquiry commission, were appointed to enquire into the injuries of Pak pacers. They kicked up a lot of dust and for a while the PCB top brass hid behind it. For one mistake, the climax would have been what they had written. The enquiry was held in a hospital run by Imran Khan, who supported Shoaib, and the results were promptly leaked to the media. This change in climax apparently caught PCB on the wrong foot, for they started questioning Shoaib's attitude and declared they will test him for that too.

Then the Pakistan Parliament woke up and smelled that something was rotten in cricket. Now that the dust had settled they hunted down PCB top brass and supposedly grilled them for breakfast. But the outcome suggested that it was more of a viva at the end of a graduate course where professors enjoy their share of sadistic pleasure and in the end makes everyone happy by giving good marks. Everybody passed the blame and it looked like an absurd drama.

It was then that Shoaib eloped to England to join Durham. Shaharyar Khan promptly wrote to Durham to take care of Shoaib's injury and use him sparingly. It appeared that Shoaib launched a public relations exercise with Durham because reports from England said their physicians confirmed Akhtar's injury and advised PCB to use Shoaib sparingly. And it was reported that Shoaib decided to turn into a specialist batsman for a while. Now PCB saw its chance. (It is during these instances that we realise how shrewd men become during their 40s and 50s). They feigned a big heart and said, OK Durham, we have heeded to your advice, we will use Shoaib sparingly, he stands dropped from the Asia Cup cricket tournament on fitness grounds, thank you.

In the next match, Shoaib came to bat at number three and opened the bowling for Durham! Where have all those nagging injuries gone. Next thing we heard was Shoaib pleading with PCB to include him in Asia Cup.

And the soap is going on.


Once there was a stray cow, which was milked by all those who had the means. They made a nice living out of it. For years the cow fended for itself from the streets and was fat and there was lot of milk. Nobody thought of feeding it. One day the cow became ill. From the symptoms it appeared that somebody poisoned it. The milk began to be scarce. Now all those who milked the cow came together and discussed what was wrong. Some, surprisingly blamed the cow and kicked it. It backfired and the milk became even more scarce and those who drank it fell sick. Now the cow's dependents are thinking of feeding it some thing and to seek some professional medical help.

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