Pakistan’s former Test captain Aamer Sohail on Friday hit out at the Cricket Board Chairman, Ejaz Butt, saying he was unfit for his job as he had absolutely no grasp of the game’s affairs and accused him of “hoodwinking” people. In a statement issued to the media, Sohail said that Butt was misleading the Pakistan President, who is also the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief patron on the 2011 World Cup settlement issue.
Sohail, who resigned as Director of the National Cricket Academy in July after differences with Butt, said he was shocked at the audacity of Butt to call those naive who had criticised him for selling off Pakistan cricket’s interests in the World Cup settlement deal.
“Let me assure the PCB Chairman that we are not naive and the people of Pakistan love their cricket. They are knowledgeable and fully aware of what is going on in the cricket world,” Sohail said. “Instead, Mr Butt is the one who is wearing blinkers and does not have a clue as how to handle the affairs of cricket domestically and internationally,” said Sohail.
He said it was obvious that Butt was ill-prepared for the ICC Executive Board meeting at Dubai in April where the 14 World Cup matches from Pakistan were shifted due to security conditions in the country.
“It appears that Butt has no worthwhile advisors who can help him in evolving any strategy at all,” Sohail added. He said Butt had sent a letter to the ICC President accusing the ICC Chief Executive of influencing the full members of the Board to support the decision to move the matches from Pakistan.
Sohail said this letter didn’t serve any purpose for Pakistan and also damaged its position with the ICC and other cricket nations. “One has to handle things diplomatically when dealing with international cricket affairs,” he said.
He also questioned the Chairman’s haste in getting into a costly legal wrangle with the ICC when the result was a foregone conclusion. Sohail said that the ICC had threatened the PCB with loss of hosting fees and to slap them with legal fees if they didn’t take back their case.
“There was no settlement as such; it was an ICC decision to which Butt could do nothing.” He also slammed the Chairman for the clumsy manner in which he handled the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in March.
“The co-hosts were not contacted after the incident despite strong advice from some of his staff,” Sohail said. “Instead, he castigated match referee Chris Broad which did not go down well with the ICC and member countries after such a big incident,” he noted.
Sohail said the PCB never carried out any in-house discussion to fix responsibility for the security lapse that led to the attack. He said it was the height of incompetency of the PCB officials that instead of accepting their responsibility for the attack, they tried to pass the blame onto the government.
Sohail also criticised the Chairman for installing an expensive lift at the Gaddafi stadium when there was no chance of any foreign teams visiting Pakistan in near future. “I would rather have used the money to give bonuses to lower staff so that they could enjoy Ramazan and Eid with their families,” Sohail added.