Pakistan news May 19, 2014

Zaka Ashraf reinstated as PCB chairman again


Zaka Ashraf has been reinstated as PCB chairman for the second time this year, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) annulled the committee headed by Najam Sethi and all the decisions taken by it. The development is likely to impact the Pakistan team significantly because their head coach Waqar Younis, team manager and chief selector Moin Khan, and other staff were appointed during Sethi's most recent tenure as PCB chairman.

In its 26-page order, the IHC said the lawyers appearing for the respondents could not "prove the reason for removal of [the] earlier set-up of the board." The court said merely leveling allegations against Ashraf without proof to back them up was insufficient evidence, and therefore the "notification for supersession of Pakistan Cricket Board is purely an arbitrary exercise, which is entirely based on malafide.

"Therefore, the impugned notification (dated February 10, 2014, which dismissed Ashraf) superseding duly elected body of Pakistan Cricket Board without assigning any reason is required to be struck down. The same is therefore hereby annulled."

Ashraf arrived at the PCB headquarters in Lahore this afternoon with a large convoy of his supporters. "Eventually justice prevailed," he said on arrival. "I always respected the court decision, and even if it was against me I could have accepted that as well. The court judgment says that all decisions in my absence are nullified but I will review them."

During the last four months Sethi's management committee had taken several key decisions that could now stand void. A six-member selection committee headed by Moin and a junior selection committee headed by Basit Ali were formed. Waqar was named head coach; former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower and former Pakistan legspinner Mushtaq Ahmed were given two-year contracts as batting coach and spin consultant; and Misbah ul Haq was named ODI captain until 2015.

There were several administrative appointments as well: Zaheer Abbas was named principal advisor, Amjad Hussain was named director media, Haroon Rashid was named director academy. The Sethi-led management committee had also passed a new constitution, which was to be implemented from June 10.

The ongoing turmoil in the PCB administration dates back to May 2013, when Ashraf became the PCB's first elected chairman. Shortly after he took office the IHC - responding to a petition filed by a former Rawalpindi Cricket Association official - suspended Ashraf, calling the process that elected him "dubious and polluted".

In June, the IHC upheld Ashraf's suspension and later that month Sethi, a senior journalist and former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, was named the interim PCB chairman by the government of Pakistan. The very next month, the IHC directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to carry out polls for the PCB chairman's post by October 18 and overruled all major decisions taken by the Sethi administration.

The elections, however, never took place and after a succession of legal developments - including the dissolution of the PCB's governing board in October and the formation of a five-man interim committee headed by Sethi to run Pakistan cricket - the IHC reinstated Ashraf as PCB chairman in January.

The reappointment was short-lived because, in February, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif dismissed Ashraf again and dissolved the board of governors, and Sethi returned as chairman, heading an eight-member committee to run cricket in Pakistan. This is the administration the IHC's latest ruling has done away with.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohamed on May 20, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    Doesn't matter whoever become the chairman. Appoint Afridi as the T20 captain, and bring Imran Nazir to team. For the success of PAKISTAN CRICKET.

  • ZCF on May 20, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    Keep your fingers crossed Grant. Otherwise Brendan Taylor will have his personal batting coach back again.

  • adeel on May 19, 2014, 23:18 GMT

    probably the best idea is to handover PCB to Mr Zardari. you read right, Zardari !

    he managed to stay in govt for 5 long years so surly he can stop this sacking/hiring of pcb cheifs. mind you, you may have a bankrupt PCB at the end but thats much better than this foolish merry go around , right??

  • Kathy on May 19, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    And people wonder why Pakistan cricket goes no where??? It's NOT about cricket, but all the political manouveres and egos that go along with it and the poor players have to pay the price every single time. How they continue to play amidst this circus when many are selected purely on their geographical status and not their talents amazes me. There are awesome players in Pakistan, yet it's sometimes only luck that gives them the chance to shine. Frustrating isn't the word!!

  • Nomi on May 19, 2014, 21:03 GMT

    PCB should start a reality tv show from this. I mean PAK cricket is already not making much money from cricket because of "mercurial" board appointments etc., might as well have a backup income source.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 20:26 GMT

    What is ICC doing? Elections shud be non political. Srilanka is worse. The musical chairs in Pak and SL will go on till elimination of cricket. Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

  • Jawwad on May 19, 2014, 19:51 GMT

    How come the order from one court is not binding on another? If you are running the country as a Federation which is often claimed then how come PCB falls under the domain of Prime Minister or President. It should be democratize so that courts cannot intervene whenever feels like.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 19:15 GMT

    Zaka Ashraf is good. Mohsin Khan manager and head coach(Batting also). Waqar and Mushtaq as bowling coaches and no Flower.

  • Srinivas on May 19, 2014, 17:37 GMT

    And the circus called PCB continues.......

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 17:10 GMT

    This musical chair game will never end, until cricket fully destroy from Pakistan.

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