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Be CEO or commentator, Raja told

April 24, 2004 17:28 IST

Former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Gen (Retd.) Tauqir Zia joined the scores of cricketers and officials gunning for the head of Chief Executive Officer Rameez Raja, saying he should decide whether he wants to continue as CEO or remain a commentator.

"Raja, besides taking up the responsibility for the recent debacle against India, should give up the job of TV commentator in order to focus himself in running the PCB affairs," Zia told reporters at a book release function in Lahore on Friday.

"He [Raja] should decide between the jobs of running the PCB or to remain as commentator."

Raja was given special permission by PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to double-up as commentator during the India-Pakistan cricket series, which the hosts lost comprehensively, saying that the post of CEO is an honorary one.

Zia, who appointed Raja to the post last year before putting down his papers citing personal reasons, said had the former international batsman paid full attention to his job as CEO the controversies like ignoring the ex-cricketers might not have happened.

Referring to criticism levelled by former cricketers about the management of the game in the country, he said some of them are raising a hue and cry as they failed to get a job with the PCB.

"Pakistan achieved outstanding results in the recent past, winning the Under-15, 17 and 19 events at Asia and World level. It shows things are clicking at different levels," he said.

Zia insisted that speedster Shoaib Akhtar is still the team's strike bowler and special attention should be paid for his upkeep.

The former PCB chief, however, refuted charges that he had unfairly favoured the speed demon in the past and said if that was the case then the present Board should have tackled the fast bowler with iron discipline.

He also took strong objection to the perception that the recent India-Pakistan cricket series was fixed and said the hosts lost due to lack of team spirit and motivation.

"It is rubbish to say that the matches of the one-day and Test series were fixed. I do not see any such element involved in the defeat of our team."

Zia attributed the defeats to lack of spirit and motivation among the team members and said the players failed to rise to the occasion.

The former PCB Chief said unity among the team members was very important to create the necessary confidence as disunity always brought destructive results.

"PCB must look into this important aspect and efforts should be made to sink differences and petty issues among the players and with the creation of unity, spirit will automatically develop in the players."

Zia also emphasised that negative criticism of the team must be stopped and it should be encouraged to perform well in the coming events.

"Losing to India does not mean end of cricket, PCB authorities should sit together and grey areas of the team should be handled professionally," he added.

Zia also lend his support to skipper Inzamam-ul Haq, saying the Board should persist with the burly batsman and give him the opportunity to prove himself.

He said the Pakistan team is not an inferior side when compared to India but players were not guided properly to handle pressure situations.

"We have a bunch of young players and if groomed and given proper opportunity they can prove asset," he said, adding "they must be taught discipline and unity so that they could blend in a winning combination."

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