Kitply Cup June 12, 2008

PCB sacks World Cup organising committee official

Cricinfo staff

Saleem Altaf, sacked by the PCB, is considering legal action against the board © AFP

The Pakistan board has sacked Saleem Altaf, a senior board official, reportedly after alleging that he has leaked sensitive information to the press.

Though it appears as if the leaked email from Nasim Ashraf, the board chairman, criticising the Pakistan side for their embarrassing 140-run loss to India on Tuesday was the reason behind the sacking, a broader story has been at work.

"Altaf's services were no longer required. It has nothing to do with the leaking of the email," PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi told Cricinfo.

It is believed that conversations Altaf has had with several journalists over a period of time were being recorded by the board. Transcripts of these conversations were read out to him this afternoon. Altaf was then told that he had been leaking sensitive information to the press about the board and was given a choice to either resign or be sacked. Altaf reportedly refused to resign and asked to be chargesheeted for the allegations. He was later escorted from the board headquarters in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, by security guards.

Altaf, a trained lawyer himself, is now considering legal action against the board. "The acts of the chairman are unlawful, especially with regards to taping of my conversations. I am seeking legal advice about this and will act accordingly," Altaf told Cricinfo.

Though he has worked in the selection committee in the past, Altaf was appointed by the PCB in this current stint in March 2005. His first duty was as manager of the Pakistan side touring India that month. Under Shaharyar Khan's tenure as chairman, Altaf became one of the seniormost decision-makers at the board.

But after Ashraf took over, Altaf was widely thought to have been sidelined into his current role as director special projects, in charge of the organising committee for the World Cup 2011. Altaf played 21 Tests for Pakistan between 1967 and 1978 as a lively fast-medium bowler, ending up with 46 Test wickets.