Zaka Ashraf confirmed as PCB chairman
Zaka Ashraf, a top banker and businessman, has replaced Ijaz Butt as the chairman of the PCB. The appointment, made by Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, is only "until further order," though, and not for the usual three-year tenure stipulated by the board's constitution. Butt's tenure as PCB chairman had ended on October 8.
Ashraf had said on October 11, before his appointment was officially confirmed, that his priority was to improve Pakistan cricket's image abroad after a series of high-profile scandals. "I will work day and night to live up to President Zardari's confidence. My top priority will be to improve Pakistan's cricket image and to stop bookies and match-fixers."
He also said he would try to improve relations with other cricket boards - including India, with whom sporting and diplomatic ties have stalled after a terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. "People in both Pakistan and India love cricket so I will try to resume ties," he had said.
Ashraf will resign as president of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), according to an AP report. He is a close confidant of Zardari, who is Patron of the board. ZTBL is one of Pakistan's top public-sector banks and is also represented by a team in Division One of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the domestic first-class competition. The team features several players who have played for Pakistan, including Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir and Zulqarnain Haider.
Apart from being president of ZTBL, Ashraf is co-chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Punjab zone. He reportedly studied with Zardari in college and stayed in the same hostel.
Butt had attended the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai on October 10 with an extension of his tenure under consideration. His term was plagued with controversies, including the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore that resulted in Pakistan being denied the chance to co-host the 2011 World Cup, the spot-fixing scandal and the problems with the ECB in its aftermath when Butt made controversial accusations against the England team, Zulqarnain Haider's fleeing to the UK mid-way through a tour after receiving threats from bookies and, most recently, a much-publicised clash with Shahid Afridi.