Will Imran Khan’s ‘tabdeeli’ affect the PCB as well?

KARACHI  : “I have heard that Zakir Khan is ordering new suits. It is becoming obvious that after a change in the country [via Imran Khan], the cricket board will follow suit and then Zakir will benefit greatly.”

When a friend of mine said these words, I also started thinking that maybe this can happen as after all, Zakir is a close friend of Imran’s.

During a Test career spanning three and a half years, he played two Tests and Imran was the captain of the team in both these matches. During these two matches, he took five wickets, while he took 16 wickets in 17 ODIs in his career.

Zakir had only one competency: being close to Imran.

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Word is out that even Imran’s ex-wife Reham Khan has mentioned him in her book out of jealousy. That is the level of friendship they share.

It is quite baffling to see Zakir being part of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as he is quite inactive that way and only goes to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) to use the gym and the training facilities and goes home after lunch.

Despite this, each month, hundreds of thousands of rupees are transferred to his account; he also has been given other facilities including a car.

Incumbent PCB Chairman Najam Sethi seems helpless in the matter and can do nothing about Zakir.

And since Imran is already unhappy with Sethi, he decided not to further antagonise Imran by confronting his close friend.

Imran will most certainly win the elections and will form his government and I am sure that he will bring a positive change to the country. But since I am related to cricket, my first scale of judgment will be what happens to the sport in the country, especially the cricket board.

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If people like Zakir are handed control of the PCB, things will certainly fall apart!

But whether that will come to pass is something that we will have to wait and see. However, one thing is certain and that is that the chairman of the PCB changes with the government and it would be fair to assume that the same would happen this time around as well.

When the government changed back in 2013, Zaka Ashraf, who was associated with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was removed and Sethi, who was close to the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), was chosen to take the reins of the cricket board.

However, a legal battle ensued in which Ashraf was reinstated and then suspended once again. Shaharyar Khan was brought forward as a dummy chairman and Sethi became the head of the all-powerful Executive Committee.

The tablet of his name was put on the room of the chairman last year but now many people want that to change; this has happened in the past and it certainly can happen again.

It was the talk of the town that since Ashraf had a close relative in the PML-N, he would continue as chairman but this did not happen.

He was removed after having been accused of financial misappropriations which still remain unproven to this day.

Just as we can see in the political environment of our beloved country, when the time comes to remove a head of the board, allegations of corruption and misappropriations surface.

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Allegations have even been hurled at former president General Pervez Musharraf’s close friend Dr Naseem Ashraf but nothing could be proven against him and he is now organising the Emirates Cricket League in the UAE.

Another incident that came to the fore in the past was when a former PCB chairman wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to suspend Pakistan’s membership due to political interference, however, nothing transpired.

Anyways, the ICC is not like FIFA which has 211 members.

As of now, ICC has 12 Full-Members and out of them, Zimbabwe are in a terrible condition, while Afghanistan and Ireland have just started out and it will take a long time before they are able to spread their wings and actually influence the ICC.

The ICC has given a warning to Sri Lanka where the board is awaiting elections, but the ICC cannot suspend any member.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on whose support the ICC stands is also prone to many issues and court committees are overlooking the cricket matters.

This is why the world cricket governing body acts as a silent spectator in these matters.

Sethi faced much opposition initially during his tenure but he has changed that perception and the number of people in the opposition have started declining.

The reasons are there for everyone to see: the success of the PSL, the resumption of international cricket in the country and the brilliant performances of the Pakistan cricket team.

Now when he seems firm on the seat, it seems as if the 50 overs of his innings are coming to an end and the opposition will now have the opportunity to bat.

Opponents say that Lalit Modi initiated the Indian Premier League (IPL) and now he has fled abroad on corruption charges but the event continues as usual.

This is why the PSL won’t be affected if Sethi leaves. The league has been a remarkable success and has found its commercial viability.

And while all this is true, it remains to be seen what will happen. However, the board’s history does not paint a positive picture and it is a fact that the appointment of the chairman takes place on political basis.

This may happen once again but since Imran is associated with cricket, a better decision is expected on his part. It would be disastrous to bring incompetent people like Zakir or Shakil Sheikh.

Though this all seems premature at the moment, the conditions point towards the fact that change is not coming but rather it already has come.

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The people close to Sethi are saying that the 70-year-old will not surrender so easily as he has been given the responsibility for three years according to the new constitution of the board and this is the first year of his tenure.

However, if removed, he has the option to approach the court while the ICC will also not tolerate this.

Regardless of who becomes the chairman, cricket fans are interested in their team’s progress and we too hope that no matter what happens, the sport and our team don’t suffer.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1762740/7-will-imran-khans-tabdeeli-affect-pcb-well/