Is the PCB Adopting Football Tactics?

With all the negativity surrounding PCBs decision of Misbah’s appointment, can we consider this a revolutionary step in cricketing history to come?

Last week in an unprecedented move, never before seen in the history of modern-day cricket, an all-powerful, dual role was created for Misbah Ul Haq.

Misbah Ul Haq smiles at camera
CC by World Cricket (Contact)

His appointment as head coach and selector, much like any other cricketing decision in Pakistan, has been met with a lot of criticism from past players, coaches, and administrators who have been a part of Pakistan cricket team.

This is understandable, Misbah has no prior coaching experience, and his salary is a whopping PKRs 2.8 million (US$18,500) a month, which has probably made a few people in the organisation a tad bit jealous, as it has raised a lot of eyebrows around the cricketing world.

With all the negativity surrounding PCBs decision of Misbah’s appointment, one may consider this a revolutionary step in cricketing history. Why is that, you may ask?

To give you an idea, let us switch sports from cricket to football for a moment. In modern-day football, the manager of the team is the focal person in running the club or national team. They have absolute authority to pick the players according to their tactics to achieve success for the team. They are both the head coach and chief selector.

Having one person at the helm ensures consistency in tactics and the selection policy, making the team’s direction clear. The manager in football gets credit for both the failures and successes of their players on the field.

Particularly, when the team fails to deliver the expected results, it is the manager who gets the boot — the sole person who is responsible for performance on the playing field.

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In this context, the PCB may have knowingly or unknowingly appointed Misbah Ul Haq as the manager of the PCT. He may indeed become the Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho of cricket, but only time will tell.

In Pakistan cricket, one significant issue has always been the inconsistency between the policies of the selection committee and strategies adopted by the team coach. Perhaps, having a sole person responsible, will benefit the team and remove all the politics and energy that is wasted squabbling over team selections.

A lot of the criticism has been that know-how of both roles is quite different, and each role is extremely demanding, therefore, it may be too much for one person to handle. This, of course, is where the other members of the selection committee come in, who will be assisting Misbah, which is similar to the support staff in football, who provide the coach with assistance in tactics, team selection and so on.

To add to this Misbah also happens to be educated and has a degree in MBA, which is something to say considering some of the past selectors/coaches. This makes him an important person for the job, as he has both the cricketing and administrative knowledge and experience.

What’s interesting is that this is by no means a first in sporting history as a whole. By that, I mean that it is not the first time that two completely different sports have exchanged tactics for success.

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In 1978, Cesar Menotti, head coach of the Argentinian Football team, visited the Pakistani field hockey team’s coach, Waheed Khan, during the hockey World Cup. He had seen the Pakistani Hockey team play on TV and deemed it beneficial for his team to incorporate some of the means through which Khan coached his hockey side. Both sides won the World Cup that year.

Similarly, in the case of PCB, it is an exchange of administrative tactics between football and cricket.

After all, Misbah Ul Haq was by no means a below-par cricket, slow and calm perhaps, but not below par. He took over the captaincy after the spot-fixing debacle in 2010.

Arguably, this was the lowest point of Pakistan cricket. Yet, under his leadership, they became the No.1 Test team in 2017 for the first and only time in their history.

Considering this, he may just be the man who can fulfil the responsibility of these dual roles and produce some positive results. In the future, we may even see other countries following suit and adopting the same administrative models, in turn, changing cricket forever.

The author wrote an article rebutting his earlier opinion, which can be found here.
Hassaan Shahid is a sports fan and regularly plays in local cricket tournaments in Queensland, Australia. He follows Esports and football very closely too. You can follow him on Instagram.
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