Decision to join PCB

"I've spoken about this a lot, if I wanted to keep climbing the cricketing ladder, I would've just stayed at the ECB where I perhaps may have become the CEO in 2-3 years time. Pakistan is in my heart, I used to watch Pakistan play. I saw the 2009 World T20, I was in the stands at the Champions Trophy final with a friend. For me it was about how I could contribute. I've learnt a lot in England but I know the environment is different, I never imposed myself to come here and bring the English system here. What I wanted to do was the bring the good things I've learnt and bring it into the Pakistan culture and what we're trying to do at the PCB"


Deep lying problems with systems in place at PCB and importance of accountability

"The issues I've experienced are with the systems. You've got to look back and think who has been running the PCB in the past. There's been a lot of talk about how many people work in the PCB and how we got to that stage. Everyone is talking now about how many people work at the PCB (900). The majority are working in the grounds, coaches etc. The people who work in the head offices, full time employees are probably 150-160, rest is background staff"

"The system needs to be completely revamped but people are scared of change. Not because they're afraid of the goodness it will bring, but what it will mean for them. There is a lot of insecurity which I've observed in my early days of Pakistan society, let alone Pakistan cricket. I've come in with no baggage, I've got no political interference or any loyalty in terms of helping people anywhere. I've come here to make cricket decisions and if it means making tough decisions, I'll do that because I'll put my head on my pillow and I'll be happy knowing I'm doing what's best for Pakistan cricket"

"The biggest frustration for me has been the fact that people don't want to focus on what you're trying to do, they want to focus on other things like salary, and apparently I've been given a big house, all the wrong things. It's that sort of thing that frustrates you because c'mon guys, we want to move Pakistan cricket forward. Pakistan cricket has so much potential. The media has a massive role to play. I'm not saying in the past things have been rosy, they haven't been. All I'm saying is give this new era an opportunity. I came here because of the way that Ehsan Mani operates, he operates with integrity and loyalty and he wants to do what is right for Pakistan cricket. I won't be derailed on where we're trying to do"

"One thing I found is that people love grey areas, because if you have those, you can't be accountable. We've created a clear plan for all of the senior staff at the PCB, everybody has objectives and know what they have to deliver and they're accountable. If I don't do my job, I don't expect to have a job. I've got no issues with that. You mustn't be afraid of failure"

"Whichever part of society you look at, there's real importance attached to credibility for older people who've been there, done it, whatever. We're not going to stand still in terms of things we're trying to do. I've been here for 6 months and it takes you that much time to see what's going on around you. It's wrong to come in and just make decisions. I gotta see what people are doing. There's a lot of good people doing good work. I hear a lot of negativity towards the PCB. Yes, there are people who could be doing better, but there are a lot of people doing good work"

"The way that Ehsan Mani works, accountability is at the forefront, even if he doesn't get paid. I was speaking earlier about there being no system in terms of how things were being done, the Chairman had all the power. So what Ehsan sahab has done is to devolve some of the power, we're the only cricket board where the Chairman is the CEO and he sets the policy but he can't hold himself accountable so we'll split the roles. Me as MD, eventually I become CEO and I'll be accountable for what I have to deliver and he'll run as a non-executive Chairman as is normal. We had to split the roles so that you don't have one person running the whole show as we've seen in the past. The Chairman runs the show and they aren't answerable and they do what they want to do. What we have now will be accountability"

"We have the Cricket Committee also because you need cricket people to make cricket decisions. You got to meet regularly to make it credible. We're meeting on Friday to discuss about the Head Coach and the whole coaching staff. We're going to be meeting on a quarterly basis and look at all the cricket things that need to be discussed. The recommendations we put forward a lot of the times will be accepted"

"The mentality we have to get away from is that because someone's been a star cricketer or they've played 100 matches, they'll automatically be good in terms of making decisions for the game and on people. We have some tough decisions to make now. We need to look at this, that by making changes, are we better off than what we are now? There's been a lot of calls on the Head Coach and we'll discuss that. Is there anyone better in this country who can take over? If there isn't, do you go abroad again and select somebody or do you continue with the current coach? These are all important questions"


Future vision

"One thing we haven't had in a very long time at the PCB is a 5 year direction. I've set us a very ambitious task for us as a cricket board and that is to make us one of the most successful and credible cricket boards in the world. You have to have a vision, you might not get there but you have to keep aiming for it. If people don't want to come onboard then they're in the wrong place"

"There are a lot of smart people in the PCB. They have to be allowed to work and get on with their jobs, that's when you get an understanding of how good they are. This is what I'm finding out"

"We have the right type of people in some places, in some places we don't. If we want to move forward, we need to have the right people everywhere. I'm turning up the screws now in terms of what's expected from people, if they're not delivering then the PCB is the wrong place for them"


New first-class cricket system in sync with Pakistan's international commitments

"The new PCB constitution is sitting in the PM's office, once he approves it we're ready to roll it out. There are 6 provinces with 2nd XIs, so your 66 best players are playing FC cricket. We're doing a big programme around wickets at the moment, if your wickets aren't great, it doesn't matter how much training you do. We had 25 scores of under 100 in the last 3 years, you're not going to get great players, guys who can bat time and bowlers who work hard for their wickets. We need to get the wickets right. There's a 2nd XI inter-city competition underneath and then club cricket"

"When you speak to people, they say there's too many players in the game which is why we don't have competition. When you start to address the FC game, they say what about all the people who will lose out? When you say you'll look after them, but no, you can't do that, you have to get cricket right. So we don't want anyone to lose out. That's why it's important. Players will get paid, there will be contracts, you can earn up to maybe 2 million rupees playing for the province sides, players will get paid for 2nd XI city cricket as well and then we'll have 6 high performance centres. So there will be a psychologist, nutritionist, physio and trainer sitting at all of those. And whatever we do at international level, the support staff will be responsible for delegating the same tasks to the HP centres. The same programmes will be run there as international level. When players come to the FC level, they need to understand what's required, you don't educate them about that when they play international cricket, it's too late"

"We need to look at our coaching as always. It's not always about techniques, it's about what goes on in the head. Why do people keep saying we bolt under pressure? It's not a good thing when people say our international team is unpredictable, mercurial. Is that a tag that we're proud of? Of course not. Sports psychology isn't a taboo anymore, many sportsmen and sportswomen use them now. We need to get them in at a young age, from 16, we need to look at the methods so we don't have an all or nothing approach"

"There's 2 or 3 models you can have with a Chief Selector. One thing you can have is 3-4 selectors and they go out every now and again. If we go with 6 provinces, why can't we have a system where the Chief Selector uses those 6 head coaches as his eyes and ears? So you don't have a formal selection committee. Coaches will write reports about oppositions' players, they don't write about their own players so there's no pressure from above. There's different models we can use. Why can't we do things differently, why do we have to stick with the structure? Think outside the box sometimes"

"There's a lot of work that people within the PCB have done on the regions' constitution so as soon as we get the approval from the PM, we'll start. We're looking to start the season on 12th September so we have 6 weeks, everything is ready to hit the road. One thing that I'll say is that your schedule of first-class cricket has to support international cricket. End of September, we have 2 Tests against Sri Lanka so we'll have 4 4 rounds of FC matches leading into that. Middle of October, we'll have the domestic T20 league for 2 reasons. One is for the PSL draft, second is for the T20 series in Australia in November. The QEA Trophy will be split up. We need guys going into Tests having played some red-ball cricket. Going into T20 series having played T20. You might have a guy who hits 3 80s in the T20 league and then he can be selected for the national team for the upcoming series. There's a narrative for everything we're going to do going forward"

"The way the constitutions are set up, nepotism is going to be very difficult. The PCB have looked very hard at how we create something so we don't have that. We know some of the issues that we've had with clubs in days gone by. We're never going to eradicate everything but we've got to take most of it away. There will be independent people sitting on some of these boards, business people who can run it as a business. You have your impartial selection committees sitting there, so there aren't people with vested interests"

"When you go down from 16 to 6, there will be competition. For merit, we need to make sure that the people running the cricket are the right type of people, so we'll have a criteria in place. It may take 2 years for the system to be properly up and running, I believe it can work for us but we've gotta make it work"

"We need to use the clubs that are already performing and where there are already facilities. We are investing a lot in infrastructure. Even in FC grounds, like Pindi, Multan - we're looking to have the full PSL in Pakistan so we're looking at 4 venues. We know the clubs that operate and we know the ones that don't do anything. There's 3000 clubs registered across the country. There's probably 1400-1500 who actually operate how they should so we've identified them in terms of their structure, coaching, match pay etc. Those who haven't been doing anything will be removed from the system"


Sending players overseas early to prepare for tours

"We go to Australia in November. What happens is that we get caught short as soon as we go to Australia, so we're sending our batsmen 4 weeks early to go and practice at the WACA. We'll sort out the facilities. We're planning 12 months ahead for all of our tours. The batting coach will be with them. We're playing in England in Jul/Aug next year, so we need to get as many guys playing County Cricket as possible. We might have to invest in the top 3-4 guys, we'll say to a county that this player will only cost you this much and we'll subsidise the rest. It's an investment for us, you'll get the likes of Imam, Shan, Babar playing County Cricket for 3-4 months. When the England series comes, they'll be ready for it"


Under-13s/16s/19s

"Our U19s just went to SA and won 7-0 against a good SA team so we have a few stars. The draft system for the FC teams, we have to make sure those U19 guys are given opportunities. They have to be in that system. If they're playing for Pakistan U19s, they're our very best U19 cricketers. If they go away and don't play FC cricket, they get lost in the system and that happens a lot, we have to make sure that doesn't happen. U13s, U16s at the club level, making sure with trainers and physios, they should filter down in the province and go out to the U13 and U16 camps. We have to look at coaching as well, are we coaching the modern way?"

"If you go to England, Australia or India, the Under-16s aren't selected on the basis of open trials. We acknowledge that there needs to be a system for these age levels. We need to monitor the clubs but when you have so many, it's hard. When you have fewer clubs, you can monitor the activities"


From NCA to HPC and succession planning

"The NCA will be rebranded as a National High-Performance Centre. If you've got 6 Performances Centres, you need that HPC. We're looking at the food, we'll bring in sports nutritionists to make sure that every bit of food that's served is what athletes should be having, not biryani, daal chawal. It's got to be difficult to get into the HPC, you go to Australia and you can't get in, you have to make an appointment. We go to ours and it's difficult because there's ex-players who come and use it etc. We have to get people to think differently, there's a lot of work ahead"

"One thing we haven't been good at is succession planning. People are saying get rid of Mickey, bring Pakistani coaches etc. but you look at India's system. They have physios, assistant coaches working with the main coaches for 3-4 years, getting an opportunity. When Greg Chappell and Gary Kirsten were there, they'd bring their best coaches to work with them. Their vision was that their whole system should be their own players in different roles. We need to do that with our people. The 6 coaches who work with the provinces should have this in their mind that they'll get opportunities if they work hard"

"We had Bob Woolmer as coach, Waqar Younis, Richard Pybus, Dav Whatmore. How many coaches have we gone through? Fundamentally, the issues haven't gone away and that's due to the system. You can have 10 of the most brilliant coaches but if the system isn't right in terms of how the players prepare, look after themselves as professional athletes, it doesn't matter who you have. You lose a series and everybody wants to call for people's heads"


Mandatory participation in domestic cricket + threat from T20 leagues

"The players playing in England etc. will have to come back to play in the FC games before the SL series. We had one or two requests from players asking whether they can stay in England, we told them no, there's a new system in place and you need to play to be available for selection in September. Why can't we create three-dimensional cricketers instead of red-ball or white-ball specialists? With T20s, children don't want to play red-ball cricket. T20 is a wonderful product but it's also a threat to Test cricket. We want red-ball cricket to matter, it's where people remember you and the health check of a nation is how you perform in Test cricket. The Championship is starting and we want to be in the final at Lord's, but it's not going to just happen. We need to improve our performances"

"Our players play in the PSL and two other tournaments which is standard for the other countries as well. What we don't what to do is to get into a situation where you have freelance cricketers, the de Villiers and the Chris Gayles of this world. Their countries have lost them, why should I play 35 weeks a year, I can play 15 weeks a year and earn. Good luck to them, it's good money. But we need to look at managing workloads, looking at better pay so that it makes it less attractive for them to go. I want our guys to play the best and to earn their value"

"The reason why it's important to get sponsors for the provinces is because it means it's less money we spend on FC cricket so we can invest it in players' salaries. That's the business plan of the Chairman and myself. If we get a sponsor who covers the cost of running FC cricket in Central Punjab for a season, that's money we were going to spend, we can pull it away and include it in the budget and include more training camps etc. We're sending our coaches every year to England and Australia, umpires as well, to go and learn from the academies and the different environments. This is investment in the future of our game. We want to send our young players to academies, the best 17 or 18 year-olds, go and train at Warwickshire for 4 weeks, go and live on your own, learn about life, that's education for them"


Cricket coming back to Pakistan and PCB's importance in the world of international cricket

"Australia's CEO and Chairman are coming for a visit in September. We will show them our security plans etc. The ECB CEO is coming in October. SL's entourage is coming over in the next 2 weeks with the head of security, the chairman. This is how far we've reached"

"On the 9th of August, I'm presenting to the MCC World Committee, they're flying me over for 24 hours. Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara, these guys. They've asked me to present for 2 reasons. One is to try and open India-Pakistan ties again. They want to use it as a lobby group, so I have to make a presentation on security and our vision. Secondly, I've approached them about sending a MCC team to tour here, they're big around the world. Let's get a tour here. Kumar said to me at Lord's that we should get a MCC team to tour, he's going to become the President of the MCC. So all this hasn't just happened, we've hard to work hard behind the scenes. England and Australia aren't scheduled to tour for 2-3 years so why are they coming here? You start at A and finish at Z. What a lot of the media don't understand is that you need to go through B, C, D, E etc. to get here. What people do is they see this and say what have you done in 6 months? You can't change the world in 6 months. I needed that time to break down certain systems and make things happen. I'm confident it'll happen. There's a lot of good things happening"

"We've got a PM who is a legend and if we can't utilise this... we're so fortunate around the world, we've got to utilise the PM in terms of what he can and can't do to focus on supporting us. He's doing a lot already, so maybe when these guys come over, can we plan a visit to go and see him, so he can talk about his vision. We will provide presidential level security to these guys. PSL is coming back to Pakistan. The acid test for us will be how many international players want to come to Pakistan for a month - they can come for 4-5 days, no problem. We have security agencies working, FICA get their information from them. What they say is that Pakistan's security situation is manageable"

"Ehsan Mani is now heading the Financial and Commercial Committee in the ICC which is one of the most powerful committees, we've got myself on the women's committee with Sana Mir, Mickey Arthur sits on the cricket committee of the ICC. So we have a presence in the ICC. We need to get that first stage of getting cricket back. We're talking to SA, they have a gap in their FTP next year and we can see if they can fit us in for matches. It's gotta be small steps to win confidence"

"Most important thing for us is that Test match cricket thrives. We have 3 Tests in England and what we want to push for going forward is that every series should be 3 Tests, 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is. We're talking to Australia about it. All we can keep doing is to keep lobbying and prove Pakistan is a safe place to play. We got a good bunch of players, fantastic human beings. PCB do a lot of good work"

"I could have sat here 5-6 months ago, I felt 6 months is a good amount of time to tell you about some of the things we've done. In a years time, you're gonna sit and ask me about what I've done in that period. There's no issues with that, I get paid to do my job. My education has taught me about accountability and that's the mentality we're trying to bring in now"