The Pakistan Cricket Board’s new charm offensive took another positive step today with the return to the ODI squad of Younis Khan. The reason why I see this as a positive step is because Younis is one player who has the respect of fans and players around the world, he represents the better image of Pakistani cricket.
This move comes on top of a new revised code of conduct which the Pakistan players will be expected to sign before the South Africa series, the view is that it will be strong on anti-corruption issues.
It also comes on the back of the news that Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have all been banned by the PCB from using the facilities at the National Cricket Academy in the Gaddafi Stadium, until the spot-fixing issues are resolved.
This is obviously the PCB (or Ijaz Butt) finally sitting up and taking notice of ICC’s warning to them that they will be booted out of cricket if they don’t get their act together – and fast.
It seems to me that ICC have gone out of their way not to tackle Ijaz Butt head on, as who knows where that might lead, but they have made it clear to him that what has gone on over the past 2-3 months is totally unacceptable.
With the way the temperamental Butt behaves, to have gone after him in an aggressive manner could have resulted in the sort of war of words that would have damaged cricket and could ultimately have left ICC with no option other than to boot out Pakistan.
I’m sure ICC will be far happier when/if Butt is removed from his post, but in the meantime this particular diplomatic route seems to have avoided more confrontation with the mad man.
It is though, a shame that it has to take such threats for the PCB to start acting more responsibly, it also remains to be seen how long this more mellow and co-operative PCB will continue to behave in this positive way.
We all know we might not have to wait too long before we see the real Ijaz Butt again. Lets enjoy the peace while it lasts though.