Shahryar Khan said all the right words in his farewell speech. That doesn’t mean all are true. There are many weaknesses he glossed over while trying to give the impression that they could have been done better.
What he has failed to realise, or at least avoided the responsibility for, is good governance that he was primarily responsible for. And which was his first responsibility. He has told his successor that: “I would like to advise my successor to keep the ship steady and not comprise on integrity at any cost. People will criticise you over selection and so many other things, but take every decision based on integrity and not pick any tainted person.”
This all sounds very well on paper. But the fact remains that as Chairman he did not have the courage to move against a Board member against whom there is evidence given by none other than Javed Miandad that he did not pass on all the funds meant for cricketers in districts. So in fact, he did not ensure integrity in the Board, so how could he ensure integrity at a level lower than that?
And should integrity be limited to only middle management when he says: “I sacked a few such people working in different departments at the PCB”? If so what action did he take after their sacking? Did the PCB register an FIR against the persons he thought had not shown integrity? If not then either it was to avoid scrutiny of other powerful people he did not dare bring into the investigation or was simply unconcerned of the financial damage done to PCB.
And if there has been such loose management and obviously fraud then how come the top management survived? Was it not their responsibility to ensure it doesn’t happen in their department? Why was COO not held responsible?
Nor did he have the annual audit done and published within the stipulated time. He has been there for three years and no audited report has been published that should be on the website. In fact the last published report on the PCB official website is of 2010! So can he claim that he has done his job? He has like any bureaucrat diverted the issue by saying that the accounts are audited and will be released by the next Chairman. But how can he absolve himself of the annual audit report not published for the previous two years. How can he not answer what action he took for non-publishing of the report from 2011 to 2014? And why did he not ensure the past audits were published while he was
Perhaps the answer is when he advises his successor to keep the ship ‘steady’. In other words status quo and not rock it, something he should have done by having audits completed. And if he hasn’t had the audits done how has he arrived at who had integrity and who didn’t?
Notice he doesn’t mention the world accountability. Otherwise he would be held accountable by asking in what capacity he gave the assurance (a year earlier to the 2016 World Twenty20) to Shahid Afridi that he would appoint him captain (irrespective of results) as long as he promised to retire after the event? In other words he bound the hands of the selectors who couldn’t drop Afridi despite a string of failures in the field and biased selection of final XI.
Also he talks about not taking on tainted people. Well, among the tainted people are Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed and Inzamam-ul- Haq, if one goes by the Justice Qayyum report who said these players should never be given a responsible position in the team or management.
Shahryar Khan appointed Wasim Akram as among those who were to search for and scrutinise the applications for the successor of Waqar Younis. In fact he was among those who Shahryar Khan approved as advisors to PSL. Then of course he approved Waqar Younis as coach and Mushtaq Ahmed as bowling coach. Finally he appointed Inzamam as chief selector. So he has actually gone out of his way to appoint these people and then advises his successor not to appoint their like. He can continue to give examples that others have hired them but firstly, the PCB should have its own yardstick and secondly, he should realise that PCB as an institution and the government do not have the same checks and balances as say, England, who have appointed Mushtaq Ahmed.
He has proudly said that it was in his tenure that Pakistan won the Champions Trophy and achieved the No.1 position in Tests. But then he shouldn’t deflect to Waqar Younis the fault of Pakistan hitting rock bottom in ODI ranking and a new low in T20s when he says: “Waqar was a good coach but he was not too successful with limited overs cricket. And his relations with some important players were also not good.”
Then please give the credit of Team’s No. 1 position in Tests to Waqar and the Champions Trophy credit to Mickey Arthur and Sarfaraz Ahmed. And if Waqar was having a poor relationship with players it was the duty of Chairman & CEO, in this case Shahryar Khan, to have taken steps to eliminate that much before it led to Pakistan performing horribly in the World Cup 2015 and World Twenty20.
Lastly, he has admitted that he cannot stop spot-fixing when he says: “...it is hard to curb spot-fixing. The bookies have many sources as now they have involved Nasir Jamshed for spot-fixing in the PSL. Hopefully, the PCB tribunal will announce exemplary punishment to all the players found guilty of fixing in the PSL.”
That’s a ridiculous thing to say. Firstly he assigns to Nasir Jamshed a role that has not been proven. Second he seems to be indicating that were it not for Nasir there could have been some control. How bizarre. One man can make him helpless he seems to say; and that to an ex-cricketer who had no significant career.
The last three years have in fact been one of the worst when it comes to governance and setting a vision by the chairman. Had it not been for Najam Sethi’s persistence the PSL would not have happened as Shahryar Khan had openly opposed it. That doesn’t make Najam Sethi a good governance person either as he has many answers to give which he avoids. But the point is made here to press home that this future beneficiary is not due to become Chairman.
So all in all a disappointing period, where nothing good came out for which he can say that he did his job. And a lot of bad came out for which he should be held responsible directly. All that can be said is that he has been no different or no worse than his predecessors. •