By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Pakistan is undergoing an agonising drought of cricket since March 2009 and undoubtedly the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf are afoot to turn the fortunes in favour, however it seems that still a long way to go in this regard.
At this juncture, the former PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt expressed disappointment over the recent statement of his successor, Zaka Ashraf, in which he accused the BCCI of running scared. “The statement was certainly uncalled for and sent adverse signals across the border. I was personally surprised by the remarks which might have dented the prospect of a bilateral series in the near future, I am afraid”, said Ijaz Butt, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
In a statement last month the incumbent PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf maintained that because of the impressive performance of the green-shirts, the BCCI was shying away from an Indo-Pak cricket series.
“We’re ready to play against them when their prime minister and board president want the teams to play. Maybe it’s their selectors and team management who are afraid of facing Pakistan.” said Ashraf
Ijaz Butt, who remained the PCB chairman from Oct. 2008 to Oct. 2011, himself faced a lot of criticism for his comment – in 2010 – when he accused the English players of taking money to lose the third Pak-England ODI at The Oval. However, later Mr. Butt was left with no other option but to render a formal apology.
Commenting on the on-field performance of the team, Ijaz Butt termed the Asia Cup triumph a tremendous feat. He also showered praise on skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq for his performance as a leader. “Despite all the odds, I appointed Misbah as the captain, and I feel proud of that decision”, said Butt
“In spite of a good performance as the leader, the criticism on Misbah is certainly unfair”, concludes Ijaz Butt.
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif