New Delhi: Have you lately noticed the struggle between the cricketers and the administrators around the globe? Shahid Afridi vs PCB, Simon Katich vs Cricket Australia and Chris Gayle vs West Indies Cricket Board, all parties have their stands and versions. But how's that going to help the sport? Trust me it didn't help and it won't help.
Take Pakistan for instance. Pakistan cricket's plight is not unknown to the world. Afridi was the only captain Pakistan had in the last couple of years who could produce some results amid various controversies, including the semi-final finish in the World Cup. And here he's now, fed up, retired from international cricket and fighting with his board to allow him play in the English county. After a prolonged tussle, he was given the permission but not without a hefty fine. The 'Boom Boom' Afridi was satisfied and showed no intentions of contesting it.
On the face, the problem's solved but what a loss to international cricket. Another sad end of a hero. Is it? Luckily with Afridi, or for that matter, Pakistan players, a comeback can never be ruled out. But that's not how the heroes must be treated. They deserve much more respect by their people.
Pakistan in particular need to handle their players properly and not with dictatorial accent. You have your three best players serving the ban, seniors like Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Akhtar calling it a day, Misbah ul Haq and Younus Khan holding the strings together to let some promising players find their ground and shine. At this time, one needed a player like Afridi, who not only adds star value to the team but fills the loopholes with his all-round skills.
PCB chief Ijaz Butt needs to emerge out of the shadow of his ego and think about the future of cricket in a country that's as passionate as its neighbour. Pakistan needs to clean up the mess quickly. Stabalise the team, instill security and let it flourish. All Pakistan needs is return of international cricket, but that's not happening in near future. So wait patiently!
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), on the other hand, seems to have just one motto - clash with its players. It's been a never-ending battle between the players and the administrators. Both sides have committed mistakes. But it's high time they resolved the issues. The WICB could never figure out how to handle Gayle. He's a spirited bird. He likes to dominate and that's his strength as a player. Unfortunately, this very quality has irked the administrators. Gayle could not find a place in the team in the recent ODI series against India despite having a brilliant run in the IPL. His team needed him badly but to no avail. And after his heated debate with the Board, his chances of playing in the Test series also look bleak. According to a report in the 'Trinidad Guardian', Gayle may give up playing for his country. What pity!
Pakistan and the West Indies have the history of clashes between the players and the administrators. Australia on the contrary has always been known for its professional handling of the players. But that was till opener Simon Katich controversy did not break out. He was refused the central contract on the grounds of his age. The omission was slammed by Katich and fellow players.
If age was the problem, why was Michael Hussey in the squad and if performance was the criterion, Katich had averaged a little over his career average of 45.03 last year. He had scored 796 runs in 9 Tests. So the logic behind Cricket Australia's decision defied the facts.
So what is it with boards picking on the players and the vice-versa? Both players and cricket boards need each other to survive. One is nothing without the other. So why this growing animosity? It's not really a very good sign. The Indian cricket has had its share of such incidents and they have never made things better. Both players and boards have to exist peacefully, in tandem and with respect for each other. That's the best they can do for the sport.