“My aim is to reset Pakistan cricket’s GPS,” Ramiz Raja was quoted as saying after being nominated to succeed Ehsan Mani as Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). As it sits, long-time commentator and former Pakistan captain Ramiz is primed to edge past Asad Ali Khan in the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting on September 13 and seems to be the front-runner to nab the slot of the chairman. To ascertain whether or not he is a good fit for this role, one needs to examine his administerial credentials and how he fared in his previous reign when he served PCB in a similar capacity.
A grand total of just more than a year (July 2003 to August 2004) is all the administerial experience that Ramiz has under his belt when he replaced Chishty Mujahid as PCB’s chief executive. This ephemeral reign was nothing short of a colossal debacle in more ways than one and peppered with controversies, ultimately forcing Ramiz to tender resignation from the role, which begs the question: why has he accepted the role in the first place?
To begin with, Ramiz had an acrimonious relationship with several players throughout his tenure. While on the one hand, he was cutting his teeth as the chief executive, on the other hand, he was criticising the national team in his commentary at the same time, which did not go down well with the players who lambasted him for dual standards.
Things kept going sideways for Ramiz and India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 proved to be the final nail in the coffin of his administerial career. A multitude of controversies popped up in this woeful series where Pakistan lost the 3-match Test series 2-1 and 5-match ODI series 3-2; players were alleged to be involved in match-fixing against India in the fourth ODI, Shoaib Akhtar’s injury saga was handled irresponsibly and the media ripped the team to shreds and lamented the disastrous showing.
In his column ‘Pakistan cricket’s blackest day’, Omar Kureishi wrote that Pakistan’s batsmen competed against one another on who was more irresponsible.
“It was a sad day as the last rites of Pakistan cricket was performed at Pindi Cricket Stadium. Indian spinner Anil Kumble and paceman Laxmipathy Balaji nailed the coffin in front of handful mourners,” Dawn’s match report read.
Agha Akbar, in his column ‘Pakistan was overawed and outplayed’ for The Nation, wrote: “It might hurt the pride of the Pakistanis, but the fact is that this Indian team has shown them the way they once used to play cricket.”
“Pakistan just threw in the towel. It is for the PCB to find out what went wrong, for something went horribly wrong,” Akbar added.
As if that was not enough to demonstrate his inability to deliver the goods, Ramiz’s reputation suffered a blow when several board officials and players also filed a case against him after he was convicted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for marketing match tickets in black.
Nevertheless, one can argue that Ramiz has been commentating on Pakistan cricket for about two decades and probably knows the ins and outs of Pakistan cricket but it is worth bearing in mind that commentating on a game and administering it requires an entirely different set of skills.
The chairman role requires one to be well-versed with business administration. Although Ramiz received his master’s degree in business administration, his credentials in that field are not impressive enough to warrant him a chairman role if you compare them to the qualifications of chairpersons of other teams. Also, if his previous stint is anything to go by, it is safe to say that Ramiz Raja is not a good fit for the role of Chairman PCB.