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  1. #1
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    The Structure of Plausible Deniability

    As Cricket Fans we are quick to give praise and equally quick to offer a verdict of disgrace. At the conclusion of the first innings of the first test, Babar Azam was the man to take Pakistan Cricket forward. The one shining light of talent in what is an overall mediocre team. Two innings later I should remind everyone that Babar has a Test Average of 35 in 19 Test Matches and a First Class Average of 37 in 50 First Class Matches.

    That said, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the real problem that afflicts not only Pakistani Cricket, but Cricket in general. It is the reason why Pakistan Cricket is in a perpetual state of failure.

    During India's demolition of Australia, Cricket Australia(CA) announced their squad for the upcoming One Day Series. Among others Shane Warne was openly critical on a CA Broadcast. This criticism had a major impact with Kevin Roberts the new CEO of CA making a statement saying, that CA would put selection criteria under the microscope.

    The BBL, the IPL, and the Sheffield Shield notwithstanding, Australian Cricket is an utter mess completely exposed by the departure of Steven Smith and David Warner. This brings me to the main subject of this thread. The Institution of a Selection Committee, the Captain, and the Head Coach is an utter failure in Cricket. It is not a predicament faced by only Pakistan. Instead it is a widespread phenomenon that plagues the vast majority of Cricket Boards including CA. Unfortunately there is no end in sight, because no Cricket Board is willing to address the absolute failure of this tripartite structure. There needs to be greater discourse about this structure of Plausible Deniability.

  2. #2
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    This reads like a blog post. Selection errors have been a bane for many teams, as has been acknowledged by everyone, but what is your suggestion?

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    The thing which i love about the Pak fans (including myself) is that we get surprised everytime a higher rank team thrashes us. I mean why cant we expect the expected and start with lower expectations to start with?

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    The vast majority of fans on this forum probably believe that Inzamam ul Haq is unqualified for his position. That being a great batsman does not make qualified to be a selector. They would be right. The bigger issue is that the next Chief Selector will be as bad if not worse than Inzamam. Why? Because the institution of selection is archaic and non-functional. It is a job with a basic description offered to a select few with a myriad of problems.

    One, the job of a selector is not to select a squad of players for a specific format or a tour. The job of Chief Selector is to first build the organizational capacity of the Front Office and the Sporting Structure. His job is to identify a group of scouts, analytics professionals, engineers, and programmers to build traditional scouting infrastructure and objective scouting infrastructure. Furthermore his job is to align that structure so it becomes functional.

    Two, the job of a chief selector is to establish and identify a method of playing cricket in each form of the game. At least at the International Level that style and method should be the same from the International Team throughout the Age Groups. Based on that style and method, a Chief Selector should hire a Head Coach and Coaches underneath that structure. He should also appoint the captain. Finally, a Chief Selector should have Profiles of Every Position in Every Format. For example, what are the qualities and attributes of a T20 Opener?

    Three, the job of a chief selector is to know every player in the country. He should have detailed Scouting Reports about every player. Because a Selector can't be everywhere he should have access to video of every player in Pakistan. Videos that illustrate the player at his best and at his worst.

    Four, the job of a chief selector is to organize this talent. Every player should be integrated in a Depth Chart. His position and standing should be discussed internally amongst the brains trust. The Selector, the Coach, and the Captain. Furthermore, each players standing should be discussed with the player, his domestic coach, and his agent. The Chief Selector should facilitate a pathway to improvement and the National Team.

    Five,the job of a Chief Selector is not to pick a squad 15 players. The job of chief selector is to BUILD A TEAM. These are two completely different ideas with contrasting outcomes.

    Six, the job of a Chief Selector is to balance the need to win today with the need to win tomorrow. Meaning a chief selector must create and then balance short and long term goals. Succession Planning is a big part of his job.

    The idea of a Chief Selector is ridiculous. In modern sports we have General Manager's, Directors of Football, and President's of Sports.. Operations. In Cricket we have selectors. In a professional environment, a selector is akin to a CEO for the Sporting Structure. His job is immense and time consuming.

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    I get what you're saying and the traditional structure has started to evolve in English cricket at least. However, the lack of focus on county cricket over the past few years has proven a significant drawback in identifying top-order batsmen in England as well. But I reckon the appointment of Strauss as team director was the right step in breaking the traditional tripartite structure. I don't know if Giles will be able to take that work forward or not, but his work at Warwickshire holds him in good stead.

    The other important point is how the appointment of Ed Smith has revived the fortunes of the test team as well, due to his inspired selections (in hindsight common sense decisions that appeared out-of-the-box at first glance). He exemplifies that with the right person at the helm, talent identification and team-building can be done properly even under the auspices of the traditional title of National Selector.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza619 View Post
    The thing which i love about the Pak fans (including myself) is that we get surprised everytime a higher rank team thrashes us. I mean why cant we expect the expected and start with lower expectations to start with?
    What's the point of watching our team and this game then?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savak View Post
    What's the point of watching our team and this game then?
    Yeah. You can be supporting the #10 ranked team and playing against the #1 ranked team, but you should still back your team to win.

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    Cricket is an obsolete, outdated, dying game which is carrying century long brain dead concept of Chief Selector - in other word authority without accountability. In any other modern sports such stupid positions donít exists.

    Ideally, that CS (selector, scout what ever one wish to name) should repot to team head coach/director/manager and a number of specialist scouts should work under the CS to look for players for a particular series/tournament.

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    Copying my reply from the POTW thread here:

    A distinctly Americanized perspective on sports management. But one that may not be a good idea to graft onto the systems and structures of cricket. Why? Because cricket boards are designed to built as associative structures, with each domestic unit operating quasi-independently and competing with each other. In theory anyway. That is the best case structure for a National cricket board. No need to ape the methodology of a privately owned team in American sports leagues. The goals and outcomes that are desirable for the latter are quite different from the former.

    I can understand where the poster is coming from, since he sees himself as an unemployed "GM" or General Manager. along the lines of what a lot of NFL teams have (depth charts and all). While such thinking maybe good for a Multan Sultans, I strongly believe that it would be absolutely terrible to apply it to a national cricket board.

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    How do you spot talent when you haven’t developed the metrics to differentiate on opener from a one down batsman or two down or late order to middle order.
    Or for that matter an opening bowler to a first change bowler to a middle innings bowler.
    I look at Asif Ali as an example. Nothwithstanding his poor performance in South Africa’s t20, he has been pretty consistent in Pakistan’s odi like up. In short he is good for playing 20 to 30 deliveries at a SR of about 150. He has done that pretty much in most games he has played. This means that if he comes in to bat around the 42 or 43rd over, he will done his job to boost the team runrate.
    It is not his fault that during most of those games, the top and middle order was dismantled by 25 over and plodding along at 3 an over.
    So this is a case of Asif Ali being dropped to pay for the sins of the top order. Asif Ali has played the role he was expected to, its the other batsmen who have failed.
    I really do think cricket could with tracking a lot more stats than it does right now.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by unemployedgm View Post
    As Cricket Fans we are quick to give praise and equally quick to offer a verdict of disgrace. At the conclusion of the first innings of the first test, Babar Azam was the man to take Pakistan Cricket forward. The one shining light of talent in what is an overall mediocre team. Two innings later I should remind everyone that Babar has a Test Average of 35 in 19 Test Matches and a First Class Average of 37 in 50 First Class Matches.

    That said, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you the real problem that afflicts not only Pakistani Cricket, but Cricket in general. It is the reason why Pakistan Cricket is in a perpetual state of failure.

    During India's demolition of Australia, Cricket Australia(CA) announced their squad for the upcoming One Day Series. Among others Shane Warne was openly critical on a CA Broadcast. This criticism had a major impact with Kevin Roberts the new CEO of CA making a statement saying, that CA would put selection criteria under the microscope.

    The BBL, the IPL, and the Sheffield Shield notwithstanding, Australian Cricket is an utter mess completely exposed by the departure of Steven Smith and David Warner. This brings me to the main subject of this thread. The Institution of a Selection Committee, the Captain, and the Head Coach is an utter failure in Cricket. It is not a predicament faced by only Pakistan. Instead it is a widespread phenomenon that plagues the vast majority of Cricket Boards including CA. Unfortunately there is no end in sight, because no Cricket Board is willing to address the absolute failure of this tripartite structure. There needs to be greater discourse about this structure of Plausible Deniability.
    1) Do those with the power to make decisions, have the intelligence and knowledge to make the best decisions?

    2) Do those with the power to make decisions, make decisions that is best for those who they serve (by choosing the most knowledgeable and intelligent decision makers), or do they make them based on their own nepotistic interests? Or as an economist would say, the Principal Agent problem.

    The answers to these questions vary across countries. By no means is CA the worst, I would say that the decision makers of CA are amongst the most knowledgeable and dedicated to the game. The problems of CA are just temporary.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banter View Post
    Copying my reply from the POTW thread here:

    A distinctly Americanized perspective on sports management. But one that may not be a good idea to graft onto the systems and structures of cricket. Why? Because cricket boards are designed to built as associative structures, with each domestic unit operating quasi-independently and competing with each other. In theory anyway. That is the best case structure for a National cricket board. No need to ape the methodology of a privately owned team in American sports leagues. The goals and outcomes that are desirable for the latter are quite different from the former.

    I can understand where the poster is coming from, since he sees himself as an unemployed "GM" or General Manager. along the lines of what a lot of NFL teams have (depth charts and all). While such thinking maybe good for a Multan Sultans, I strongly believe that it would be absolutely terrible to apply it to a national cricket board.

    1. The goals are the same. Franchises end up being more efficient.

    2. You are lending support to a structure that has failed Pakistan for decades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Rose View Post
    How do you spot talent when you haven’t developed the metrics to differentiate on opener from a one down batsman or two down or late order to middle order.
    Or for that matter an opening bowler to a first change bowler to a middle innings bowler.
    I look at Asif Ali as an example. Nothwithstanding his poor performance in South Africa’s t20, he has been pretty consistent in Pakistan’s odi like up. In short he is good for playing 20 to 30 deliveries at a SR of about 150. He has done that pretty much in most games he has played. This means that if he comes in to bat around the 42 or 43rd over, he will done his job to boost the team runrate.
    It is not his fault that during most of those games, the top and middle order was dismantled by 25 over and plodding along at 3 an over.
    So this is a case of Asif Ali being dropped to pay for the sins of the top order. Asif Ali has played the role he was expected to, its the other batsmen who have failed.
    I really do think cricket could with tracking a lot more stats than it does right now.
    Absolutely facts with context backed up by statistical breakdowns.

  14. #14
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    1. No

    2. Partially

    3. Partially. The sporting structure in CA at the moment is very poor. It hasnít really evolved over the last 10 years or so. That doesnít seem temporary to me. In terms of everything else Australia remains ahead of other countries around the world. They are at the forefront of business innovation at board level and constantly pushing the boundaries of technology.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by unemployedgm View Post
    1. The goals are the same. Franchises end up being more efficient.
    No, they are most definitely not. For a Franchise, its all about creating a squad to win games. That is why 'minor leagues', 'practice squads', etc don't matter. A cricket board is responsible for growing the game, serving its stakeholders. Its how you define 'success'. It doesn't stop at putting a competitive XI or squad on the ground. Its a lot more than that.


    2. You are lending support to a structure that has failed Pakistan for decades.

    No I am not. Its not the 'structure' that has failed Pakistan, its the people tasked with operating it.



    Now I don't want to denigrate your ideas, there's a lot of value in advocating a scientific approach to team building, grooming talent with specific roles in mind etc. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn't really the answer.

  16. #16
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    Both need to change. The structure is not a catalyst for good idea, competition, or merit. As much as we criticize the board it is the association's that should feed players, coaching, and management talent to the board it doesnt. The problem doesn't just lie on the sporting side.

    Pakistan Cricket is only touching the surface of its true revenue potential. It needs to modernize marketing, sponsorship, ticketing, event management, and merchandising. The PCB has no CSR platform that gives back to society.

    The structure you are looking to preserve will never improve the business or the sporting sides of the institution.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by unemployedgm View Post
    Both need to change. The structure is not a catalyst for good idea, competition, or merit. As much as we criticize the board it is the association's that should feed players, coaching, and management talent to the board it doesnt. The problem doesn't just lie on the sporting side.

    Pakistan Cricket is only touching the surface of its true revenue potential. It needs to modernize marketing, sponsorship, ticketing, event management, and merchandising. The PCB has no CSR platform that gives back to society.

    The structure you are looking to preserve will never improve the business or the sporting sides of the institution.
    I forget his name but there was a Pak journalist who posted an epic thread on twitter laying out the changes that PCB has made to its domestic tournaments, only in the last 15 years. It was quite the jerking around. Systems need stability and commitment before they can work - if you keep tearing up the first page, you will never finish the story.

    Besides, when the administrators are corrupt and instead of viewing their jurisdiction as responsibilities, view them as fiefdoms to be exploited, NO system will work as a 'catalyst'. Its the Choudhary mentality all over again.

    What's needed for PCB to genuinely reform itself, is a good plan, without unnecessary radical changes, AND a commitment to stick to it for an extended period of time. Along with an infusion of $$$ to fund the system IN SPITE of the usual leeches siphoning off their shares.

    PCB should have lobbied to get the ICC to allocate hosting rights for multi-lateral tournaments in lieu of the home games that Pakistan is missing out on. If the PCB had some political chops, they could have even had the ICC organize a special tournament with the proceeds going to Pak cricket. Along with hatching a long to medium plan to hosting India for a big fat home series.

    A National cricket board needs to concentrate of having functional competitive WELL FUNDED domestic units. THAT is the priority that ensures that the rest of it will work. A private league team gives ZERO Fs about its so-called feeder systems. In fact, the Australian cricket board - one of the examples you cited to support your proposal, is actually in the midst of doing what you suggest. Treat its first class cricket as 'feeder systems'. They have re-invented their FC schedule, prioritizing the "modern" cricket league that generates profits for them, at the cost of weakening their Shield cricket. Results are there for all to see.
    They even tried to make their cost of running the feeder systems more "efficient" by fighting the player unions - failed spectacularly this time, but I expect them to keep trying.

    Reality is that the PCB is NEVER going to devolve genuine power and resources to its domestic cricket units to make ANY structure work. What you are going to see is a revolving door of "leaders" that fancy themselves as the SAVIORS. Its a malady that isn't limited to Pakistan's cricket after all. What Pakistan cricket needs is a infusion of a lot of $$$ so that a BOTTOM-UP change can be made. Not a Top-down one with a CEO with "HERO" mentality.
    Last edited by Banter; 11th January 2019 at 21:20.

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    I generally agree with this line of thinking but the corporate governance structure at the regional level does not lend itself to efficiency. Why ? Because they are elected officials that rig the system.


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