Lahore, June 16: Pakistan's cricketers stepping out of line is becoming all too frequent a phenomenon and is ruining the rapport between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the players. Such a scenario has irked and flustered several quarters in the country's cricket fraternity and the latest person to join the bandwagon at denouncing the trend is former Pakistan leg-break and current England spin-coach Mushtaq Ahmed.
Mushtaq's outburst comes on the heels of an ugly dispute between former limited-overs-captain Shahid Afridi and the PCB. But even as the conflict has subsided and the warring parties have reached a compromise, Mushtaq felt that such incidents could be avoided in the future if the PCB deals firmly with discipline breaches instead of taking half measures.
“I think an example must be set on disciplinary matters," Mushtaq told a leading newspaper. “It"s extremely important to avoid disputes between players and the board. If a player starts thinking of himself as bigger than the game and tries to impose his will unfairly and doesn"t rectify his behavior despite repeated warnings, then all doors must be shut on him. There must be no compromise on discipline."
Mushtaq indicated that there was something inherent in the country's culture that predisposes players to turn against their own board.
“I think that in our cricket culture there"s a vast communication gap between board and the players. What"s needed is strict adherence to rules and instant punishment whenever there"s a discipline breach, which is the best way to ensure that upcoming, budding players think ten times before violating rules."
Mushtaq also wisely pointed out that government officials shouldn't intervene in issues between the board and the players, as what happened in the PCB-Afridi spat. That, Mushtaq felt would set a inappropriate precedent.
“I think the PCB, as the sole authority running cricket in the country, should take care of all on- and off-field matters. Interference by politicians might work as a short-term solution but it won"t work in the longer run. Such controversies will pop up again and again. So PCB should tackle all matters using their disciplinary regulations."