The Pakistan Cricket Board has appointed an Observer to report on the performance of match officials, teams and ground staff during the ongoing President’s Trophy first-class tournament.

For the first time, the Board has appointed the regional coaches on its payroll — most of them former Test or international players — to work as independent observers during the tournament.

“My job is to basically independently observe the conditions of the ground and pitch, the behaviour and attitude of teams, performances of players and how umpires and referees discharge their duties,” former Test spinner Tauseef Ahmed said while working as an independent observer during the Port Qasim Authority and State Bank match at the national stadium.

The irony of Tauseef’s appointment is that he has again been appointed to monitor match referee Mohammad Illyas —— a man whom he replaced in the national team in a Test in 1979/80 at the same national stadium.

Although the national selectors had picked Mohammad Illyas as the lone off-spinner in the squad that was to play the first Test against Australia in 1979/80, captain Javed Miandad and coach, Mushtaq Mohammad decided to blood the 20-year old rookie off break bowler, Tauseef in the match.

“Yes, it was hard on Illyas because I had not played any first class cricket than. I was just invited to bowl in the nets and suddenly I was told to report at the team hotel and two days later I was playing a Test,” Tauseef said.

Illyas never recovered from the shock of coming so close to becoming a Test player and shortly afterwards bade goodbye to cricket.

Sources in the board said that the decision to have independent observers in the tournament was taken by the PCB’s Director General (cricket), Javed Miandad after complaints about poor and biased performances by umpires and referees.

“Basically the independent observer will now also fill in his report and give it to the board,” the source said.

(This article was published on October 12, 2012)
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