Administration reflects on three months January 14, 2007

PCB hits back at claims of nepotism

Cricinfo staff

Nasim Ashraf remains committed to reorganising and running cricket along modern lines © AFP

The PCB has responded to charges in a local newspaper of nepotism and cronyism among journalists while asserting that Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the board, remains committed to the reorganization of the administration of cricket on modern lines.

A column in Dawn, a Karachi-based daily, by Saad Shafqat, a local writer, claimed that the current chairman had appointed relatives to key positions in the organization, as well as allegedly currying favour among journalists by sending them, at the board's expense, to the tour in South Africa.

But in a response published in Dawn today, Ahsan Malik, PCB director communications and media, categorically denied the charges. "Recently there were some untrue assertions reported in an article in Dawn dated January 10. For the record, let me categorically state that there is no relative of the chairman employed in the Board, as erroneously reported in that article.

"Second, it is totally false that any journalist was sent to South Africa by the PCB at its expense. As a matter of fact, we are developing an open and transparent policy where sport journalists would be asked to cover international tours on rotation basis with cost sharing by their respective Newspapers/organizations."

Malik also expanded on Ashraf's tenure as chairman so far, detailing a number of achievements since he took over in October last year. "The long-standing issue of ad-hocism is now finally set to get resolved as the board constitution is expected to be implemented this month. Also, a complete audit of the organization has also been carried out by reputable firms like Fergusson Associates and KPMG."

Ashraf has had to face a number of controversies in this period and Malik insisted they had been handled as openly and efficiently as possible. The doping scandal, which saw Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif banned and then reinstated within a month, was one such. "Pakistan is one of the four countries carrying out internal voluntary drug screening since 2003.

"We recalled Shoaib and Asif rather than sweeping the issue under the carpet. The management then followed the laid down procedure and appointed an independent commission to deal with the doping case which was overturned by an Appellant Tribunal on technical/legal grounds. But whatever the final outcome, the PCB handled the issue in a transparent and an open manner."

There has been progress on the domestic front as well, says Malik. New corporate sponsor partnerships have been created, a benefit not lost on this year's Quaid-e-Azam trophy and the Twenty20 tournament. "Prize money for the Quaid-e-Azam and Patron's Trophy has been increased significantly, junior level tours are being increased to provide experience to the youngsters while women's cricket has also been given special attention. Pakistan has now earned the right to host women world cup qualifying rounds this year.

"New coaches have been hired at the academy and an Under-15 talent hunt was launched. The organisation of a national school championship will eventually see 25 youngsters undergoing a month's training at the academy with subsequent tours to South Africa or Sri Lanka."

The board has also set up a pension scheme for former Test players, while regional associations have been given a degree of financial autonomy, a policy in direct contrast to the last administration. "A decision has been taken to plough all revenue from gate-money back to the local associations."