Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Ijaz Butt's era finally over

His era is finally over! Ijaz Butt made us weep throughout his tenure. Bad news followed by another, followed by another. It was only the last few days when the International Cricket Council tightened the reins on Ijaz Butt that he took a few steps for the sake of Pakistan cricket. Rest was all rubbish. Have a look at a brief rundown of his tenure.

Ijaz Butt
Ijaz Butt was appointed the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board on 7th of October, 2008 and the bad days begun. Ten days into his tenure, we had our first selection committee and management change. Saleem Jaffer replaced Salahuddin Ayubi as chairman of the committee and Talat Ali stepped down from being the team manager. A month later, the interim committee was dismissed, and the new committee was headed by Abdul Qadir.

Too much of a hassle to start with? Not, for Butt. Next, our coach was changed. Butt addressed the media on 20th October that Geoff Lawson’s contract will not be renewed. No one told Lawson, not even Butt. Lawson learned of the latest untold through the media. Butt then tracked back slightly, and on 23rd October, said that he “fully backs” Geoff Lawson. Lawson was sacked on 24th October and Intikhab Alam was appointed as the new coach, who had his own sorry tale.

Shoaib Malik was then accused of being a 'grouper' in the team and was removed from the captaincy. Younis Khan took over in all formats. Remember this was only the first captaincy change by Ijaz Butt, dated 27th January, 2008.

Butt’s upsetting relationship with Miandad was referred by the parliament in February, 2009. Miandad had a complain that as a Director General of PCB, he was not given his precise duties and responsibilities. Absurdly, Butt claimed to the Senate that Miandad was not under a formal PCB contract. Butt said, “I admit it was our mistake as we didn’t sign a contract with Miandad when he was appointed as Director General in December”. Parliament, thus, asked Butt to step down from the chairmanship but he said he has got the support of the President Pakistan and will not resign. This was the first time when Butt was asked to leave.

March 2009 was undoubtedly one of the saddest month in the cricketing history of the world. It was the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team! Straight away, Butt pointed his finger towards the government. “Nowhere in the world does the cricket board interfere in the security matters – it’s the sole responsibility of the government,” he said. This event caused the Champions Trophy 2009 to be moved from Pakistan. He tried to calm down the situation, a week later, by stating that he expects cricket to be back in Pakistan in 6 to 9 months. It isn't back yet. Butt then accused match official Chris Broad that he lied about the lack of security given to the umpires and match officials in Pakistan.

In the following month the World Cup 2011 venue was also taken away from Pakistan considering the security threats. Butt in turn took the legal case to the court and in return got a compensation in form of money provided by the ICC. That money was supposed to benefit Pakistan Cricket in some way or the other, but it was Butt.

Differences with Butt made Abdul Qadir resign as chief selector on 8th June 2009, less than 6 months after taking the seat. Wasim Bari got the temporary position. Iqbal Qasim was made the chief selector three weeks later, in July.

Differences with the senior players caused Younis Khan to resign as a captain in October, 2009. Butt met Younis in an attemp to change his mind but Younis refused. Younis was not called back on a tough tour in Australia, despite being fit and willing to play, and despite the Pakistan team in desperate need of middle order support. Mohammad Yousuf was made the interim captain.

Butt was again asked to resign by a parliamentarian, Jamshed Dasti, on 9th January 2010. "He (Butt) has gone too old," said Jamshed, which was true. According to, Butt ages about 74 years old.

Iqbal Qasim resigned on 31st January, after the fail Australian tour. Mohsin Hasan Khan took over the place of Iqbal Qasim as a chief selector, in March, 2010. Mohsin Khan still holds his position though some differences arose between Butt and him- they were settled soon.

It was the third time parliament asked Butt to resign, when it did, in February 2010. Javed Miandad also expressed his feelings that Butt is "too old" to have the seat.

On 10th February 2010, Butt got a legal notice for calling the United States Cricket Association an "illegal institution".

A match fixing controversy arose in March, not for the last time. There were allegations that at least one Pakistani player was involved in the match fixing on the tour to Australia. Butt ignored the allegations, saying that the case was "ten or twelve years" old. Butt, in the same month, banned and fined the senior players due to the fail tour in Australia and all the controversies. All the punishments were taken back a couple of months later.

Waqar Younis took the coaching seat when Intikhab Alam resigned, in the same month. Captaincy was once again taken away, this time from Mohammad Yousuf. Shahid Afridi was persuaded to return to test cricket and to take the responsibilities. Afridi resigned again from test cricket after one game as captain. And Salman Butt was next.

Iqbal Mohammad Ali, another parliamentarian, raised his voice for the change of chairmanship, on 11th August 2010. This was the fourth time he was asked to step down.

One and a half years after the attack on the Sri Lankan team, PCB sent a report to ICC regarding the incident, dated 17th August 2010.

It was long(weeks) since Butt was out of the news. So it was now time for the the big hit spot-fixing issues, in the English series, September 2010. In response to the accusations on Salman Butt and others, Ijaz Butt accused England of also being a bunch of fixers. England in reply held strong and asked for an apology from Ijaz Butt.

Butt first said he won't apologize, and then he did. In his formal apology, Butt stated that "I would like to make it quite clear that in the statements which I made that I never intended to question the behaviour and integrity of the England players nor the ECB nor to suggest that any of them were involved in any corrupt practices or in a conspiracy against Pakistan cricket."

ICC just being a spectator of all the issues relating PCB, now threatened to expel it if it does not sort out its issues soon. For the first time, there was a sense of surety around that Ijaz Butt is going to be sacked.

In October 2010, we saw another change in the captaincy, following Salman Butt’s legal issues. It was Misbah-ul-haq for the tests, the ninth change in captaincy in Ijaz Butt’s tenure.

Our performance in the World Cup was unexpectedly good. Pakistan got into the semi finals of a tournament. But then, Afridi was absurdly dismissed as ODI captain, no one knows why. He was confirmed only a few weeks before the tournament, in first place. Misbah took over as ODI and T20 captain. Butt stated that there are "solid reasons" for dropping Afridi but refused to elaborate.

Pakistan Cricket was able to breath a little when Ijaz Butt took a month off from his duties. Finally in October 2011, having his extension under consideration, Ijaz Butt’s contract was not renewed.

*sigh of relief*

Zaka Ashraf, a banker and industrialist now holds the chairmanship (to the date). Lets hope the history doesn't repeat itself, but the state Mr. Butt has left Pakistan Cricket in, it will surely take a lot to recover.


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