RAWALPINDI - The sheer negligence of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has not only been destroying the beauty of Pindi Cricket Stadium but also depriving the local players of utilising one of the best cricket facilities of the country.
If the stadium is utilised in a befitting way, positive and better results can be gained from it which will result in Pakistan cricket’s promotion and betterment at local level as well as national and international level.
There is hardly any debate that this venue is the best in the entire region and only ground of the country where lush green grassy wicket is witnessed round the year. It is tailor-made place for national team to train whenever they go for a series against teams like South Africa, Australia and England, where Pakistan batsmen always struggle hard due to extra pace and bounce, but the PCB never bothered to utilize such facility.
Despite a lapse of almost 8 to 10 years, the development and construction work of the stadium is still continued with slow pace. The ground lacks a lot basic facilities. Matches are conducted round the year here so this ground deserves better treatment from the PCB. If it is not possible for the board to complete the task after several years, it should at least provide basic facilities including internet at the venue, so the journalists and local staff can benefit and perform their duties in a professional way.
The point worth to be noted is that PCB manager is rarely present at his office situated inside the stadium and whenever journalists visit the stadium, they never found Nisar Khan present there. When this scribe visited the stadium to cover a match between DCO XI and visiting Muzaffarabad Journalists XI, a notable issue, which was witnessed, was non-availability of pitch covers. When the ground staff was asked about it, they said they had five covers to protect the pitch but all were sent to PCB headquarters for repair work. If one agrees with this argument, even then the weather is not predictable so the responsible person at the stadium should have kept in mind this reality and must have at least two covers to deal with prevailing situation. These minor issues can only be resolved when the concerned person will be present at his office.
The PCB had taken over this stadium on lease from district government for 25 years on a hefty amount of Rs 400,000 rent per month, but the board had failed miserably in paying that rent to the local administration, which resulting in whopping debts of more than Rs 30 million. The board must be held responsible for signing such an unreasonable agreement as how is it possible for the board to pay Rs 400,000 only for using ground, while the gold mines shops, located outside the stadium, were handed over to business community on minor monthly rents, who had given those spaces to others on a hefty amounts.
The responsible person for this agreement should be taken to the task and the PCB must seek detailed explanation as why and on whose behest this agreement was signed.
The PCB high ups should invite district administration and negotiate fresh details and reasonable monthly charges should be fixed. The district administration should also divert their attention to main area, the shops adjacent to the stadium, where they can easily generate hefty funds. The district administration must allocate stadium to the PCB free of cost and ensure the funds generated from the stadium income must be spent on Rawalpindi-based players’ uplift and renovation of the stadium. Local players should be given monthly stipends to carry their day-to-day affairs and fully concentrate on their games, instead of thinking about earning bread and butter for their families.
The PCB must not sit back and wait for the revival of international cricket in the country rather they must concentrate on developing the available stadiums and equipped them with the latest facilities as at any stage, international cricket can be restored in the country. The district government must cooperate with the board in the best possible way, as in the past before handing over the stadium to the PCB, the stadium was hardly available on regular basis at it was booked round the year. The district government responsible person must provide details of how much income was generated and how much was deposited in the national exchequer.
The control of the stadium should remain with the PCB and if the district government is not willing to let the PCB utilise the facilities free of cost, then a reasonable monthly rent should be decided between the two parties. Handing back the stadium to district government can spell disaster for the local players, who train at the venue for the entire year under one of the best available coaches of the country so it will deprive them of becoming future stars.