Time to hold onto your hats - Miandad and Maradona are running the show
COMPETENCE is always a question of time and place. Two decades ago, if you needed a ball player capable of slipping past four defenders, holding his balance as he slid the ball past an already beaten keeper in a World Cup quarter-final, you couldn't think of anyone better qualified than Diego Maradona.
A legend with the ball at his feet within the white lines, for many years since the Argentinian maestro's principal area of competency has been the white lines themselves. Although he was never caught naked with a bag of drugs, a pair of women's stockings and a Spanish mastiff while waving a gun around in a menacing manner, one suspects it was not for want of trying.
Javed Miandad appears to have steered clear of drugs, women's stockings and mastiffs, although his son did marry the daughter of India's most wanted man, but his range of - how do we put this? - unpredictable behaviour in recent years is matched only by the Pakistani cricket team with which he's been so closely associated.
Yet Miandad, through 124 Tests, was a marvellous batsman and compulsively competitive, a man who had clearly found his area of competence. A Test average of 52.57 is not to be sneezed at, even if there were times it was suspected Miandad may as well have done his own umpiring too, such was his influence over officials.
Then he finally retired and, since that last defiant innings, Miandad has been in and out of jobs as quickly as wickets fall when Pakistan are playing teams such as Zimbabwe in Sharjah and the odds are particularly juicy. Of course, the notion that Miandad might in fact struggle as coach could have been envisaged with something other than a crystal ball had one stopped to consider the fact that the fabulously volatile Miandad didn't have just one or two terms as Pakistan's captain, he had six.
So what do they do when he retires? Make him coach, of course - three times.
Now, instead of making Miandad coach for a fourth time, the Pakistani Cricket Board has stepped from the ridiculous to the theatre of the absurd: they've made Miandad boss. That's right, director-general of the PCB - with the office cleared for his inauguration in the same week that Maradona made his debut as Argentina's national coach.
Maradona and Miandad's many talents have kept doors open for them throughout their long and varied lives. A couple of years ago Maradona pleaded with then president Nestor Kirchner to lift an injunction that barred him from leaving Argentina.
"I'm old enough and have enough decision-making power to know what to do with my life," said the then-human balloon.
Now, Maradona knows not only what to do with his life. He knows what to do with the young lives of many others placed in his care and has been placed in charge of one of the few life-and-death issues in the South American nation.
It's questionable which other two men on this planet might have strayed further from their areas of competence than this pair. But won't it be fun - for as short as it lasts.
Maybe competence is irrelevant. Sport is theatre, times two - the reason why it's played in an amphitheatre. Miandad and Maradona guarantee at least a few thrills and spills along the way. And redemption is one of the sport's never exhausted storylines.
So, in the spirit of harmony, we offer up some local suggestions dug from the same mine.
The next NRL supremo? Sure we need passion and a love of footy but, more than that, we need a man of unimpeachable tact and diplomacy. Who better than Tommy Raudonikis, although if Ray Price is finished sorting things out at Parramatta he might be an outside chance.
Spirit of Cricket roving (or should that be rowing) ambassador? Andrew Symonds is unchallenged - that's when he's finished doing his bit for team harmony in the narrow shadow of the baggy green - while John Kosmina is building up an impressive resume for a referee.
Chief stipe at the races? No one is better suited than Jimmy Cassidy. Some say it takes a thief to catch one and Cassidy surely knows the tricks of the trade better than anyone else shorter than five foot although, if racing is to spread into Asia, Chris Munce could offer undoubted insights and perhaps some pidgin Cantonese for important phrases such as, "Don't drop the soap".