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Waqar & Moin Formula Should Produce Better Results says Najam Sethi

Posted by on Friday, May 2, 2014, 11:47
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Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi is pinning his hopes on the combination of Waqar Younis and Moin Khan in the roles of head coach and team manager respectively.

Najam Sethi

Najam Sethi

In an exclusive and extensive interview with The Express Tribune, Sethi disclosed his reasons for choosing the new panel, saying that the old coach-hunting committee that functioned under former chairman Zaka Ashraf and included former captain Wasim Akram failed to deliver the desired results.

“I inherited two options [either Moin or Waqar] from Ashraf and Akram and had to select one on the eve of the team’s departure to Dhaka to play the Asia Cup and the WorldTwenty20.

“I put the matter before our managing committee and they chose the option led by Moin Khan which Akram had listed at number one. Not everyone was happy with the decision, but we let it go because there was no time to constitute a new committee and come up with different choices.”

Sethi added that instead of choosing the path of vindictiveness, the board decided on making only a few necessary modifications in the team management after the World Twenty20.

“It was never a Moin or Waqar option for us as formulated by Akram. The new formula has both former players in a format that we think will produce better results. That’s why I have now given them two-year contracts like [Dav] Whatmore earlier.

Sethi also rubbished the reports suggesting that departmental cricket would be brought to an end in the new domestic structure.

“Instead of closing down departmental cricket or reducing jobs, my new proposal seeks to enlarge and empower the departments to hire more people and cricketers to play a critical role in managing domestic cricket. Hopefully, we will unfurl these proposals soon and put to rest all the fears.”

‘We expect at least 30 matches against India over eight years’

Sethi expects Pakistan to play at least 30 matches across different formats over an eight-year span against India and hopes these matches would fill PCB coffers.

“Once our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Future Tours Programme (FTP) with India is confirmed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the new elections in mid-May, we should have as many as 30 matches in an eight-year period. The average rate of the last time we auctioned Pak-India broadcasting rights, realistically projected forward, should yield us about $200 million. FTPs with the rest of the world should yield no less than $100 million.”

He reiterated that eight board members have signed MoUs with India which would be converted into binding agreements after BCCI’s elections.

“Eight countries have signed unconditional FTP MoUs with India that will be translated into binding commercial agreements after the BCCI elections. But our commitment to join the revised ICC resolutions is conditional to India signing binding commercial agreements with us, as per our MoU. If India doesn’t honour its commitment, we don’t sign on along with the others. If India does, we get a great deal.”

On the contentious issues of N Srinivasan’s takeover as the new ICC Chairman, Sethi stressed that his nomination is an internal issue of the BCCI.

“India and the ICC did not have any stance on, or comment upon, PCB matters while we were going through court trials in the past nine months. Now PCB and the ICC members will not comment on the internal affairs of BCCI. The ICC has said it will work with whoever is nominated by any board to represent it in the ICC.”

‘We aim to privatise cricket as much as possible’

Revamping the domestic cricket seems to be one of the top priorities of the PCB; Sethi thinks that privatising the board can be accomplished after the formation of a new structure.

“I am aiming to privatise cricket as much as possible in our peculiar circumstances, in which self-regulating private and state-owned departments play along with private regional associations, funded by the PCB.

“The forthcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the proposed integration of departmental and regional cricket are steps in that direction. However, given the presidential ordinance from which the PCB derives its legitimacy, the Patron will remain and retain some discretionary powers”.

The chairman is also keen on decentralising the board, ensuring a path which limits the role of the chairman in the years ahead. He claimed that his interest is in the smooth accomplishment of the restructure only.

“As soon as the new democratic constitution and autonomous decentralised domestic cricket structure is in place and running relatively smoothly, I will have accomplished my goal and will step aside.”

‘Test match format not as profitable as ODIs and T20s’

Sethi also stressed that while primacy of Test cricket remains a top goal of the ICC, the fact remains that the format is not as profitable as the limited-over varieties. At the national level, he hopes that Test match greats like Waqar and Zaheer Abbas would formulate a successful strategy of grooming players for the longest format of the game.

“Everybody in the ICC wants to play more Test matches. The problem is that this format is not as profitable as ODIs and T20s. Therefore, the ICC has determined to give Test match subsidies on all FTPs in which Tests are involved.

“Of course we want to manufacture players for this format because that is the purest form of cricket and a true measure of a player’s mental and cricketing capability. The job of the new management led by Waqar, Moin and Zaheer (all Test match products) will be to groom and train such players too.”

Sethi also renewed his commitment for the promotion of women and junior cricket across the country.

“The women’s team and the A Team were relatively ignored by the previous PCB managements, but I am determined to raise their level by providing better training facilities and more international exposure. It is a costly exercise because it yields no revenue, but it is the building block of all forms of cricket in the world.”

Chairman throws weight behind PCB’s old guard

Like most of his predecessors Sethi has reposed confidence in the long-serving officials [Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmed, directors Zakir Khan and Intikhab Alam] of the board, especially Alam, who has worn numerous hats in the board — often contentiously.

“What blunders have these people made? I am happy to be enlightened. Alam was certainly part of the Akram-led committee for the head coach, but I gave them [the previous coaching panel] two-month contract, not he. And I have already explained the reasons for the two-month contract which, despite the furore in the media, proved to be well-founded because that combination didn’t produce the desired results.”

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