The “sick” Pakistan cricket team, which has “become a laughing stock in world cricket,” needs a true friend who can guide it out of its present messy situation, former Test great Dean Jones has said.
“The Pakistan cricket team is sick. World cricket’s problem child needs serious help. Everybody is calling for Pakistan to be suspended, or banned for five years or more. But is this the right way to deal with them while they are in trouble, by turning our backs on them?” The Age quoted Jones, as saying.
“I don’t think so. What they really need is a true friend who can guide them out of this mess. They do not need any more knives in their backs. There’s no room anyway… Solid families show compassion, love and care, and help guide the wayward to a better life. Pakistan cricket needs this now,” he continued. Throwing Pakistan into obscurity will not solve its problems. It needs leadership, guidance and a complete overhaul to get through this major crisis. It needs to gain credibility again; it needs to build a new reputation.
Pointing out towards a series of problems engulfing Pakistan cricket, the former Australian cricketer said, “In the past five years, Pakistan has been accused of everything: match-fixing, spot-fixing, ball-tampering, drug offences. A coach died in suspicious circumstances. Then, worst of all, terrorists attacked a touring team.”
Noting that it had lost the rights to host next year’s World Cup, and that no country really wanted to play there, Jones said that “radical measures must be taken now” to rescue Pakistan, as throwing it into obscurity would not solve its problems.
“First, I believe the ICC must give an ultimatum to the PCB and the Pakistan government. The board needs to stand down, to be replaced by an independent, caretaker board,” he suggested.
“The independent board must consist of distinguished people from around the cricket world, including Pakistani greats such as Imran Khan, Rameez Raja, Intikhab Alam and Aamir Sohail,” Jones added.
He said that this board “would take over the running of the PCB and all its commercial dealings. It would advise on the management of first-class cricket and academies throughout Pakistan.”
Jones further suggested that anyone wishing to play for Pakistan would have to allow an independent auditor full freedom to check on all financial matters in and out of the country.
“I know this would be a massive invasion of privacy, but this team and its board must be seen to be squeaky clean. This is non-negotiable,” he maintained.
Jones said that the PCB must admit that it has a problem and needs help, and that it is “time for Pakistan to receive some ‘tough love’ from its friends.”
“The cricket world needs a quality Pakistan side. India especially does. It is well known that matches between India and Pakistan turn over more money and create more interest than any Ashes series,” he concluded.