Pakistan cricket August 11, 2008

PCB rubbishes speculation over Ashraf's future

Cricinfo staff

Nasim Ashraf will return to Pakistan after his trip to the USA was extended due to a minor surgery © AFP

The PCB has rubbished speculation over the future of Nasim Ashraf, claiming that the chairman of the board is not going anywhere and will be back from the USA within the next few days.

Ashraf is currently in the USA on a personal trip and undergoing some medical treatment, but the timing of his trip, with preparations for the Champions Trophy in full swing and an ICC task force visiting the country, has sparked chatter about an uncertain future.

Some reports have linked his position to the future of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, who is facing possible impeachment from the ruling government. As patron of the board, Musharraf directly appoints the chairman, and is thought to be close to Ashraf.

But a board spokesman said such talk was baseless and insisted the chairman would be back soon. "There is nothing in all this," Mansoor Suhail told Cricinfo. "The chairman had planned this trip quite some time ago and has in fact reduced it considerably with a view to the Champions Trophy. He has undergone some treatment there and will be back within the next 5-6 days."

Questions have been raised about the timing of the trip in particular as the ICC's task force is in the country to assess final arrangements for the Champions Trophy. It has been suggested that the current four-man task force, missing a number of top delegates, was re-jigged because concerns about the venues weren't of such importance. But Suhail insisted that Ashraf's presence in any case wasn't necessary.

"This is not the exact task force that was originally nominated but they have come to discuss concerns and by their own admission have had excellent sessions in Islamabad and Lahore. It is not necessary for the chairman to be here as the PCB management has handled it and done it well."

Suhail also downplayed the implications of the political situation in the country on Ashraf's position. "There is no link between what is happening with the presidency and the chairman of the board and to suggest as such is completely off the mark. The chairman will be back shortly and is very much looking forward to hosting the Champions Trophy."