Ramiz Raja set to be removed as PCB chairman

Ramiz Raja set to be removed as PCB chairman

The removal of Ramiz Raja as chairman of the PCB and the current board was officially launched by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif who is also the boss of the cricket board. This ends a few days of growing and feverish speculation about impending regime change and although he has to go through the formalities, Ramiz’s presidency is effectively over.

A 14-member steering committee, led by former board chief and prominent media analyst Najam Sethi, and including former Pakistani captains Shahid Afridi and Sana Mir will take care of business on an interim basis. The committee will have 120 days to amend the PCB constitution, bringing back the 2014 version to replace the current one (put in place in 2019).

A notification issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and a summary from the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) confirmed the speculation that had been building up over the past two days, sparked by Pakistan’s defeat. in Karachi In England. The loss completed an unprecedented 0-3 home shutout.

“Constitution of a Management Committee to manage the affairs of the PCB with full executive powers for the purpose of effecting the restoration of the departmental structure of cricket and other related matters, including the appointment of a Board of administration and the election of the president, as stipulated in the 2014 constitution, within 120 days,” the notification reads. “The PCB Management Committee will consist of the President/CEO and the required members.”

The notification should be sent to the Law and Justice Division for legal verification, before being submitted to the cabinet for approval. It should be a simple formality. It’s unclear at this time what implications – if any – this has on the senior board executive, although ESPNcricinfo believes there will be an elimination. The 2014 constitution had no place for a CEO, for example, with the president doubling that role. At the moment the CEO is Faisal Hasnain and the COO – for whom there is a role – Salman Naseer.

On Wednesday, Pakistan also announced a team for the Test series against New Zealand which starts from December 26 in Karachi. The New Zealand team are due to arrive on Wednesday night for their first series of any kind in Pakistan since 2003 – on a rapidly changing field. Pakistan captain Babar Azam and coach Saqlain Mushtaq have both come under scrutiny following the loss to England but either position is unlikely to change any time soon. – in any case, Saqlain’s mandate ends in February 2023.

Although the planned departure of Ramiz is the main consequence, the main agenda of the new committee is the repeal of the current constitution of the board of directors to restore the version of 2014. In fact, the summary sent by the IPC in the Prime Minister’s Office is not specifically about a change of council. His main concern is the constitutional overhaul by which departmental teams can return to national cricket. It is in this roundabout way that the current administration headed by Ramiz is removed – because the 2019 constitution does not recognize county cricket, the old constitution which does is brought back and an interim management committee will be tasked with doing so. To do.

The abolition of departments was demanded by Imran Khan, when he was Prime Minister, who had long wanted Pakistan’s national scene to replicate that of Australia – a provincial model, with six teams made up of Pakistan’s provinces playing in all tournaments . But with Imran’s exit in April 2022, a group of former board members began to urge the government to return to the previous national structure in which departmental teams such as WAPDA, SNGPL and PIA were part of the first-class circuit – a number of these members make up, unsurprisingly, the proposed interim management committee. Imran’s orders to abolish county cricket, the notification reads, were revoked by Sharif, who succeeded him as prime minister.

The PCB had been criticized for abolishing county cricket, as it made hundreds of cricketers unemployed in one fell swoop. It should be noted that a number of departments had closed their sports operations even before Imran’s change and in the current economic climate these organizations might not have much appetite to hire a team of cricketers.

Sethi served as the head of the PCB in one capacity or another from 2013 to 2018, although the stint was initially embroiled in legal battles with his predecessor Zaka Ashraf; he stepped down once Imran became prime minister in August 2018. As the league’s first president, he oversaw the birth of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and was in charge during the teams’ earliest visits international organizations in Pakistan, ending a period of isolation that began after the 2009 terrorist attacks in the Sri Lanka team in Lahore.

For Ramiz, whose position has been the subject of constant speculation since Imran’s ousting as prime minister, the change will end a short but turbulent tenure. It was Imran who brought in Ramiz in September 2021 on the premise that a former cricketer was best suited to handle cricket affairs in the country. But time had run out since the day Imran and his government were ousted in April in contentious circumstances after a vote of no confidence in the country’s parliament. The impact of this change is still being felt across the country’s political spectrum but, unusually at the time, the impact on the PCB was negligible. Usually, with a change of government, a change of chairmanship and board administration is inevitable and immediate. But as the new government, with a broad coalition of multiple political parties, navigated its way through the country’s most pressing priorities – including a spiraling economic crisis – Ramiz remained under the radar and continued to occupy this post.

However, the momentum against him built after Pakistan’s 0-3 loss to England at home – a run that now includes the Test side losing four straight Tests at home for the first time in the league. history of the country and having won none of the six at home. Tests were played in 2022. In the past few days, Sethi along with other senior members of the proposed management committee had started playing in political circles in Islamabad.

Ramiz took on a more hands-on role with cricket matters during his spell, but as a result he was associated more closely with the team’s results than, say, his predecessor Ehsan Mani. He will no doubt highlight his achievements by overseeing the completion of two of the most high-profile visits to Pakistan in over a decade – by Australia and England – and being in charge when Pakistan made the semi-final. and back-to-back Men’s T20 World Cup Finals. and the Asian Cup final.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in Pakistan

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