Following his withdrawal from consideration for the position of the next board chairman, Najam Sethi has essentially resigned as the chairman of the PCB. The board had been controlled by an interim management committee under Sethi’s leadership since last December, but their term was set to expire on June 21.
Up until recently, it appeared that Sethi would continue in that role and be named the official chairman of the board after the interim arrangement ended. But rumors of Zaka Ashraf’s reappearance had been louder during the previous few weeks. Although Ashraf, a previous board chairman himself, is expected to return, Sethi’s resignation has already been announced.
Sethi tweeted, “I don’t want to be a bone of contention between Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. Such unpredictability and volatility are bad for PCB. Given the facts, I am not a candidate for PCB Chairmanship. Good luck to all parties involved.
The political hedging over the chairmanship was the subject of Sethi’s tweet. Pakistan’s current prime minister and supporter of the PCB is Shehbaz Sharif. Ashraf is said to be the choice of Asif Ali Zardari, a significant coalition partner in the present government and a former president of Pakistan with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
The PM’s appointment to the PCB board of governors typically results in the appointment of the board chairman in Pakistan cricket tradition. Typically, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party would choose the PCB chairman. But during the past few weeks, the PPP has claimed that they retain the right to nominate a candidate of their choosing through the ministry for inter-provincial coordination (IPC), as they are the ones in charge of Pakistan sports.
The two candidates will be Ashraf and renowned Supreme Court attorney Mustafa Ramday, according to ESPNcricinfo, even though the prime minister has yet to propose two names. Both will join the PCB’s 10-member board of governors (BoG), where one of the direct candidates of the PM is likely to be chosen as PCB chairman for a three-year term. Elections are typically a formality, with Ashraf being the clear favorite to win.
With Ashraf’s return after a nine-year absence, the tug of war between him and Sethi between 2013 and 2014 is over—at least for the time being. During those years, the chairmanship was the subject of a protracted court fight between the two parties, which saw multiple changes in control. When Shehbaz’s older brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, ultimately fired Ashraf and appointed Sethi, the matter appeared to be resolved. But Sethi was forced to make room for Ashraf after several days of vigorous negotiation between the two groups.
Since Ramiz Raja was ousted as chairman and the board’s 2019 constitution was discarded in December of last year, Sethi has been leading the PCB on an interim basis. The initial deadline for Sethi’s committee to reestablish the 2014 PCB constitution and the regional and departmental structures in domestic cricket was 120 days. A directive to establish a board of governors and choose a chairman was also issued to the committee.
That means the six-team provincial model for domestic cricket, which was established with the support of former premier Imran Khan, had to be scrapped. With the restoration of departments, the domestic system will henceforth be based on 16 regions. Four departments and four areas will each have a seat on the PCB board for a period of three years.
In accordance with the 2014 constitution, the PCB must also appoint 10 members to its board of governors, including four of the 16 regional delegates, four representatives of service organizations, and two patron-nominated members.
The hiring of a coaching team for Pakistan that is primarily from abroad has also been managed during the past six months by Sethi’s management committee, with former head coach Mickey Arthur being named the part-time director of cricket.
Pakistan’s hosting of the Asia Cup and its connection to Pakistan’s probable participation in the World Cup, which is set to be held in India in October of this year, was one of the trickier topics that preoccupied Sethi throughout his brief tenure. Sethi mentioned three days ago that the Pakistani government must approve Pakistan’s participation in the event. One of the more urgent challenges for Sethi’s successor to address is that.