sPakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja was on his worst behavior outside the Dubai Stadium last Sunday when an Indian journalist asked him if he had a message for the Pakistanis who would not be happy after the Greenshirts lost to Sri Lanka by 23 runs. in the final of the Asian Cup. He lost his cool and acted angrily saying, “You must be from India and you will be very happy now that Pakistan has lost”.
Ramez and the journalist continued arguing for a few more seconds before the head of the Internal Control Department was seen trying to grab the journalist’s phone in a video that went viral on social media.
He was also seen admonishing a fan who put his arms over his shoulder and got too close to calm him down. The Indian journalist insisted on Ramez’s statements, but his response was completely irresponsible, and his outbursts of anger were not befitting of a president. His behavior brought disgrace to the PCB chief’s office.
The Rams have represented Pakistan in over 50 Test matches and scored just over 2,700 runs with two centuries despite playing in the top order. Compared to other Pakistani opening batsmen like Mudasir Nizar, Mohsin Khan, Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail, this was below par and he was considered a mediocre batsman.
However, he landed a high-profile job, despite his limited managerial experience, when Lieutenant-General Taqeer Zia became the Chairman of PCB. He soon recruited people like himself to the National Cricket Academy. He even sent two regular cricketers to coach the Bangladesh cricket team that beat Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup. Both of them were sent back for their poor performances and off-field behaviour.
It is interesting to note that Ramez has been kept busy in the comment box, under Taqir Zia, which is a conflict of interest. The result was that the Pakistan team, which won the 1992 World Cup and runner-up in 1999, failed to qualify for the second stage of the 2003 World Cup. The Indian team visited Pakistan in 2004 and won 2-1 against the hosts. After the Second Test in Lahore, tickets for an entire hangar at Gaddafi Stadium were allegedly sold on the black market. All this happened when the Rams were in charge of the PCB’s cricket affairs.
Ramez has a temper problem and has indulged in live clashes with journalists and cricketers. He showed a tough attitude while answering some questions about the Pakistan Junior League at a press conference in Lahore.
Former cricketer Mohamed Hafeez stated on a TV show that even his 12-year-old son knows more about cricket than Razmez does.
There was another ugly dispute between Ramez and Mohamed Youssef, who scored a record number of runs in the calendar year.
One wonders that it was against such a controversial background that Ramez was appointed as president. Since his appointment, Ramez has made a number of serious mistakes, showing his immaturity and poor managerial skills.
He started his roles in PCB with a silly statement. He said that the PCB would collapse if India (the board of control for cricket in India) stopped funding the ICC. The statement not only shocked the ardent cricket fans at home, but also the Indian media shocked Pakistan and our cricket. The actual situation is that the ICC organizes the World Cup every four years, and the T20 World Cup every two years. The International Criminal Court, after deducting expenses, distributes the remaining funds equally among the permanent members. Moreover, PCB earns set income from selling media rights for PSL and international matches in Pakistan. There are additional funds received from sponsorships, merchandise sales, and portal funds.
The Rams boasted of organizing a four-nation T20 tournament in which Pakistan, England, Australia and India participated. He had not done his proper homework before making his ambitious proposal. He should have known that the ICC’s MPA (Members Sharing Agreement) does not allow any member country to host more than one tri-national tournament. Organizing a four-nation event every year would have in no way diminished the value of the ICC’s high-profile events. The proposal was dropped at an ICC board meeting. It shows Ramez’s sheer naivety.
Early this year PCB signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an investment/construction firm which was to incur a buyout cost of Rs 370 crore (approx $2 million) for two or three presentations. The PCB has hired a consultant from Australia for his advice on whether it is possible to get pitches in Pakistan. Later, the idea was shelved amid a backlash from sane critics.
The Rams ignored the development program at the NCA, now the High Performance Centre, which damaged the careers of upcoming cricketers who needed to be coached, mentored and prepared for international exposure.
Shutting down divisional cricket without a Plan B was a huge mistake. It was the idea of Imran Khan who could not understand the difference of cultures between Australia and Pakistan. Like Ehsan Mani, the Rams continued without managerial cricket just to please Imran Khan. It has ruined the careers of many promising cricketers. They were deprived of their livelihood and forced to do menial work. Some were reportedly driving rickshaws. There is a workable plan by which administrations can partner with PCB to promote cricket in Pakistan and protect the jobs of cricketers.
The Rams initiated a poorly planned PJL and invited bids from sponsors for the six teams to compete in the league. There is no junior league anywhere in the world of cricket. Reportedly, the bureau hired mentors, without waiting for a response, at a staggering $40,000 salary. These mentors include Viv Richards and Javed Miandad. Bidding response was very poor and could not match PCB’s expectations. Now PCB will spend huge amount from its own fund to run this league. Absolute waste of PCB money!
PCB bought a bulletproof car for the Rams. Somewhere, perhaps in the Senate Standing Committee on Sports, the Rams were asked about the car and his answer was, “I have life threats.” Did Ramez inform the relevant agencies about the danger to life? No previous president faced any threat to life and used a bullet-proof vehicle even when Pakistan was a frontline partner during the “war on terror” in the mid-2000s.
In fact, Ramez saw the writing on the wall and creates problems for the next president. His talk of “threat to life” is a message to foreign cricket nations who think twice before touring Pakistan as the cricket board chairman receives life threats.
It’s time to remove the Rams before his nerve and immaturity do further damage to Pakistan cricket. The stakeholders and millions of cricket fans will fervently request the Chairman of the PCB to appoint a new Chairman on merit alone. Among the former cricketers, Majid Khan would be an ideal choice.
He is internationally admired by the cricket community, and is an excellent person of integrity and responsibility. He will take bold decisions to bring Pakistan cricket out of its present moribund state, put it on the right track, and once again make Pakistan one of the best cricketing nations in the world.