New PCB chairman outlines his vision for the future October 19, 2006

Pakistan to employ paid selectors after World Cup

'Cricket is also a business today and we need a corporate culture of good governance to run it' - Nasim Ashraf © Getty Images

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will have a full-time, professional paid selection committee in place after the World Cup next year in the Caribbean. Dr Nasim Ashraf, the new chairman of the board, announced this at the National Stadium in Karachi, while outlining, in the broadest terms, his vision for the immediate future of Pakistan cricket.

Ashraf told a gathering of reporters, "Selectors will be full-time professionals after the World Cup. There is no politics to this at all. Cricket is also a business today and we need a corporate culture of good governance to run it."

Perhaps mindful that Wasim Bari, the current chief of the selection committee, was sitting to his left, Ashraf was fulsome in his praise of the current committee, composed entirely of selectors who are not paid and work around their day jobs. "The selection team is doing a tremendous job at the moment. The Under-19 team has won two World Cups, the bench strength is also good and Pakistan has done well in the last two years. Until the World Cup, there will be no change at all."

Ashraf also suggested that on future foreign tours, Pakistan may take a selector along with them, to make decisions with the captain and coach on selection: "I know it is the Australian way, but it makes sense to have one full-time selector on tour who can help make decisions on the spot".

The battle to put in place a paid selection committee has gone on for some time now within the PCB. Under the previous administration, two senior board officials were divided over the concept and ultimately the current system continued. But with a new administration in place, keen for a clean break from their predecessors, it became but a mere formality.

The meeting was Ashraf's first with reporters in Karachi since he took over almost two weeks ago and despite his unfamiliarity, the gathering was a jovial, jaunty one: a result Bari quipped of Pakistan's fabulous, stirring triumph over Sri Lanka the night before.

Ashraf also spelt out, without straying into too many details, his plans to revitalise cricket at the grassroots level. As hacks noted unanimously, there was little they hadn't heard before: "Cricketers used to come out of clubs before in Pakistan but that doesn't happen anymore. We have to give more importance to club cricket, we have to invest more money into schools cricket".

There will also be greater stress laid on the participation of the national team's players to take part in domestic cricket, something most chairmen have demanded, yet something very few cricketers have been able to respond to. "It is an absolute pre-requisite for our national cricketers to play domestic cricket," Ashraf stated. "I am aware that international cricket makes great demands of players now with its schedule but we must have involvement from them to revive domestic cricket." Regional associations, marginalized to a extent under the previous administration, "would also have a bigger role to play."

There was even a brief nod to the forgotten constitution of the board. Though he couldn't divulge any details, Ashraf did say that the draft would be presented to Pervez Musharraf, Patron of the PCB and President of Pakistan, on November 1. "There is strong representation for regions in it is all I can say."

The fact that Musharraf has yet to see it may well raise questions about Shaharyar Khan, who spent his entire tenure trying to put a constitution in place and had publicly said on a number of occasions that the draft was already with the Patron, awaiting approval.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo