Pakistan’s centrally-contracted players haven’t been paid their wages since December.
This is a revelation which will shine fresh light on the Pakistan Cricket Board’s empty promises that their top cricketers would be given pay rises as part of their new contracts. It now appears that rather than being paid more, they are not being paid at all.
In spite of calls for a players’ union, little seems to be getting done with regards to finding a solution to negotiations. Leading players who have considered setting up a union are reportedly worried about reprisals from PCB elites.
At present, there is little indication of when the contracts will be finalised, with or without their promised pay hikes and bonuses. The fact that it is nearly May and the players’ contracts for 2014 still have not been sorted says a lot about the current state of the PCB: it tops off a decade off disgrace, upset and downright disarray.
Pakistan’s reputation as a great cricketing nation has struggled to recover from the spot-fixing scandal in their series against England in 2010 that saw then captain Salman Butt jailed, alongside Mohammed Asif and youngster Mohammed Amir.
Their reputation had already been hanging by a thread after the 2006 ball-tampering row which saw them forfeit a Test against England at The Oval. Just over a year later, confusion prevailed over the death of coach Bob Woolmer, who was found dead in his hotel room during the World Cup in Jamaica. Police found there was not enough evidence to decide if Woolmer died of natural causes or was, in fact, murdered.
Any hopes that with the retirement of Inzamam-ul-Haq - who it must be said courted his fair share of controversy – Pakistan would enjoy a new wave of credibility have been rapidly dashed. Former captain Inzamam may have tainted his career with incidents such as hitting an Indian spectator with a bat, amid other reports that he attempted to enforce Islam on other players, but even as a new generation of Pakistani cricketers take the field, the PCB still has work to do if their careers are not to be coloured.
It appears that little has changed in terms of the discord in the dressing room. Former PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf recently came out with a scathing attack on his successor Najam Sethi, whom he believes has overseen a sharp decline in the side’s fortunes, particularly after their early exit from the T20 World Cup.
What is certain, though, is that regardless of its chief, the Board has proved only a hindrance to a side trying desperately to restore its reputation.
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