- Zaka Ashraf will remain as PCB chief till the end of the World Cup.
- The decision was made by the board’s patron, Anwar ul Haq Kakar.
- Ashraf’s leadership has been criticized by some members of the board.
Zaka Ashraf will remain in his position as PCB chief till the very end of the current World Cup. Anwar ul Haq Kakar, the board’s patron and Pakistan’s current acting prime minister, announced the extension in a TV interview on Friday.
The board’s current interim management team, led by Ashraf, was scheduled to disband on November 5. Following a string of high-profile blunders, such as a press release that seemed to place the blame on captain Babar Azam and selector Inzamam-ul-Haq (who has since resigned) and a controversy surrounding a leaked Whatsapp conversation between Babar and a senior PCB official, the administration’s future has been closely watched and the focus of much conjecture in recent days.
Members of the management committee, such as Zulfiqar Malik and Mustafa Ramday, have criticized Ashraf’s leadership for its decision-making and lack of action about holding board elections, despite being given this task in July. In October, Malik submitted an email outlining his disapproval of PCB operations to Ashraf, other committee members, and the prime minister. Ramday has also expressed his displeasure with the manner the board has been operated in a separate correspondence.
The patron who arrived this weekend has the choice of either appointing a new committee or extending the current one for the duration of the weekend; the latter has been selected.
“At this time, you know there is a tournament going on,” Kakar told Dawn News TV in an interview. “We’ll look after this tournament what needs doing, what doesn’t need doing. At this moment, I don’t think we are going to make a big decision. The reason for that is that at times you have to work according to the doctrine of necessity. Once we are past the World Cup, then we’ll see.”
In addition to being the interim prime minister, Kakar is also a PCB patron and oversees the appointment of the board chairman. The doctrine of necessity, which Kakar referenced, is notoriously associated in Pakistan with two rulings: a chief justice’s 1954 ruling that authorized the deployment of extra-constitutional emergency powers, and a ruling in 1977 that authorized a military coup.
Kakar made his remarks the day before Pakistan’s pivotal World Cup match in Bengaluru versus New Zealand, where a defeat would guarantee Pakistan’s elimination from the competition. They still have a group-stage match against England in Kolkata the following week.
These followed a meeting between the prime minister and Shahid Afridi, the former captain and all-rounder of Pakistan, who had earlier in the week publicly criticized Ashraf on television. Following that meeting, Afridi and Ashraf had another one on Friday at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. After the meeting, the PCB issued a statement stating that Afridi had indicated a desire to collaborate with younger cricket players.
“Shahid Afridi expressed his interest in grooming young cricketers into future stars and positively shaping them into well-rounded representatives of Pakistan cricket,” the statement said. “He also admired and appreciated Mr Zaka Ashraf’s efforts and contributions for Pakistan cricket.”
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