Pakistan cricket October 6, 2006

Shaharyar Khan resigns from PCB

Cricinfo staff

Shaharyar Khan has resigned as PCB Chairman © Getty Images
Shaharyar Khan has resigned as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, following an acrimonious two-month period which began with the Oval debacle in August, and culminated in Younis Khan's departure as captain yesterday. Dr Naseem Ashraf, a government adviser and a member of the board's ad-hoc committee, is set to take over the role.

"I am hurt because of the recent events like the Oval Test and Younis Khan fiascos," Shaharyar told AFP. "I thought this is the right time to step down and pass the responsibility to someone else. The Younis episode has hurt me more than the Oval fiasco."

It is thought that the president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, who is also the Patron of the PCB, intervened amidst increasing criticism over the way Shaharyar has handled affairs recently. In particular, the Oval forfeit and the way the board handled the affair has been slammed throughout the country. Younis's resignation, and the accompanying murmurs that he was unhappy with the chairman and officials in the board, appears to have been the last straw. Shaharyar's tenure as chairman was due to end in December 2006.

Worryingly, sources within the PCB suggest that more unrest cannot be ruled out. Another change in captaincy, after the dramatic events of yesterday, is not off the cards and changes in the administration are also expected. As the team is due to depart early Saturday afternoon for India for the Champions Trophy, there appears little time for anything major.

Bob Woolmer also rubbished speculation that changes in the team or in leadership is imminent. Speaking to Cricinfo, Woolmer said, "Any talk of a change in captaincy is pure speculation. The chairman had an excellent meeting with Mohammad Yousuf and the players this morning and it isn't likely that anything will change."

Woolmer, brought in by Shaharyar as coach in June 2004 as one of his major coups, praised Shaharyar as the best boss he had worked with in his entire career. "He's done a wonderful job for Pakistan. Without any argument, he is the best chairman, CEO or head of board that I have worked with in my 20 years as a coach."

Woolmer also suggested that Shaharyar's advanced years - he is 72 - had played a part in the decision. "I think he handled the Inzamam affair and the Younis affair brilliantly and it is very sad to lose such a fantastic and wise counsel. I think he thought that he didn't need this sort of aggravation at this stage in his life and that is fair enough. He is a great loss to Pakistan cricket."

But Woolmer was adamant that Pakistan cricket would move forward from this. "Good things are happening in Pakistan cricket despite recent events. Dr Ashraf is a good man and will steer the ship on its course. I will continue to prepare the team for upcoming assignments and it is important to build on the stable platform we have created over the last two years."

With the Champions Trophy due to begin and the World Cup on the horizon - not to mention series against West Indies and South Africa before the end of the year - the effect on Pakistan's preparation can only be guessed at. But Shaharyar's resignation rounds off, even by Pakistani standards, a particularly volatile few weeks.