Ashraf Ali Siddiqui looks at a game of musical chairs
New incharge of PCB – Heading the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has become a new bone of contention between the Pakistani elite that wants to sustain their control over all activities of the country. While exercising such control the elite did not care about the suitability and requirement of positions assigned to their ilk as happened in case of appointing Najam Sethi as head of PCB who cannot distinguish between cricket bat and ball. As Najam Sethi was no more politically advantageous to a segment of the political elite, he was removed and replaced by Zaka Ashraf who is considered close to that particular segment.This is the reason that the PCB got its third chief in the past six and a half months after Ramiz Raja and Najam Sethi.
Zaka Ashraf’s arrival as chief however ended the uncertainty which had gripped the PCB during the past weeks. Besides staging the Asia Cup jointly with Sri Lanka in September this year, the PCB also has to deal with the issues concerning the forthcoming ICC annual meeting starting in South Africa on 9 July and Pakistan team’s participation in the 50-over ICC World Cup being held in India during October-November.After Sethi’s IMC completed its tenure, the elections of PCB chairman were due to be held on 27 June for which Zaka Ashraf and Mustafa Ramday were nominated by the PM in the Board of Governors. However just two days before the elections, petitions were filed in different courts which gave stay order against the elections and as a result uncertainty started.
Though the cases in some courts are still pending, the PM ended the uncertainty by naming another IMC for four months to be headed by Zaka Ashraf, a strong contender to become the chairman in the now-postponed 27 June elections. PCB in a press statement said that Zaka would go to South Africa along with chief operating officer Salman Naseer and head of special projects Faisal Husnain to attend the ICC meeting but a couple of days later his name was withdrawn with reports saying his name was announced without his consent for the said meeting. However, Zaka Ashraf did come in later probably because of his past experience as he ran the PCB as chairman from 2011-13.
It may be mentioned that Najam Sethi had introduced a hybrid model to host India’s Asia Cup matches at a neutral venue as the Indian government did not allow its team to tour Pakistan due to strained political relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. However, due to BCCI’s domineering approach in international cricket, Najam Sethi could get only four Asia Cup matches to be held in Pakistan while the rest of the games went to Sri Lanka. Zaka Ashraf had rejected the hybrid model. Zaka Ashraf also hinted at holding elections in districts and regions which had been completed in 90 per cent areas of the country. It is reported that office-bearers in most of the districts and regions were elected unopposed which raises concerns over rigging. The Weekender