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    Ijaz Butt turning Pakistan into minnows

    Ijaz Butt

    Ijaz Butt (AFP Photo)

    Islamabad: A Pakistani parliamentarian wants President Asif Ali Zardari to remove Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt, whom he blames for the national team turning into a "minnow."

    In a two-page letter to Zardari, also patron of the PCB, Iqbal Mohammad Ali claimed that incompetence by 72-year-old Butt has brought enough shame for Pakistan in international cricket.

    The letter was written last month and a copy was made available to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

    Butt replaced Nasim Ashraf as PCB chairman in 2008 and since then he has been severely criticized by members of standing committees of sports in both upper and lower houses of parliament.

    Ali, who heads the sports committee of the lower house, said in the letter that the standard of the national team had deteriorated since Butt took charge, and "now Pakistan cricket team is considered just like minnows".

    The standing committees of the upper and lower houses cannot take direct action against any organisation but they can pass on suggestions to the government.

    Ali believed that if the PCB remained in its present setup, it will ruin the game in Pakistan permanently.

    In the past year, Pakistan has reached the semifinals of the Champions Trophy and World Twenty20 but hasn't won any major series.

    It lost all three Tests and five one-dayers in Australia this year, after which seven players including captain Mohammad Yousuf were sanctioned for indiscipline, but then beat Australia for the first time in 15 years to level a 'home' series at Headingley last month.

    Pakistan trails 2-0 in the four-Test series against England after losing the first Test by 354 runs and the second by nine wickets.

    Butt has appointed several former Test cricketers like Aamer Sohail, Abdul Qadir and Iqbal Qasim to key board positions but they have left after developing differences with the PCB chairman "due to egocentric and autocratic attitude of Mr. Ijaz Butt," Ali wrote.

    The team is under its fourth captain in less than a year, with Ali holding Butt and team management responsible for such "comedy of errors".

    The parliamentarian also alleged that present team manager Yawar Saeed, whom he claimed was close to Butt, was supporting certain "groups of players in the team which is destroying the unity", without elaborating.

    The parliamentarian reminded the president that Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992 and the team's present low standing "is very painful for cricket lovers of this country".

    "The chairman and his close aides have shoddily let down your confidence in them by making a mockery of management ethics at the board," Ali wrote.

    "It is therefore recommended that a very dynamic and energetic administrator be made the chairman of the board so that the affairs of cricket in Pakistan are run professionally. (The) incompetence of Mr. Ijaz Butt has already brought enough shame for our country at international level."

    Ali recommended an ad-hoc committee should govern Pakistan cricket for six to eight months until a new board and chairman are elected.