Pakistan news September 1, 2009

PCB sacks Altaf as COO

Cricinfo staff

The PCB has sacked former Pakistan bowler Saleem Altaf as its chief operating officer (COO), after the move was approved by a majority of the board's governing council. It is believed that Altaf developed differences with PCB chairman Ijaz Butt over administration matters. The board's director of human resources, Wasim Bari, has subsequently been appointed as acting COO.

"As per the decision of the members of the PCB governing board, Saleem Altaf has been relieved from his duties as chief operating officer with immediate effect. Wasim Bari will be the acting chief operating officer till further orders," a press release from the PCB said.

Altaf, 65, was first appointed manager of the Pakistan team to India in early 2005 before taking over as PCB director. The then PCB chairman Shahryar Khan, however, sidelined Altaf and appointed him as director special projects to look after matters relating to the 2011 World Cup.

In fact, this is the second time that Altaf has been removed from his position, after being dismissed by former chairman Nasim Ashraf in June last year for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the press. However, he appealed his termination in the Lahore High Court and Supreme Court at the time, which resulted in him being reinstated.

Governing council member Shakil Shaikh admitted that Altaf's appointment last year was done in a hurry. "But now there is ample time for members to decide who is best to take over as the new COO," Shaikh told PTI.

Another council member, Muhammad Ali Shah, said he expected Butt to consult and get approval of the members before nominating a new COO. "We want to bring in someone who knows cricket and can do well," Shah said.

Altaf played 21 Test matches and six ODIs for Pakistan and is the third former player who has either resigned or been removed from a key PCB post over the past three months.

Abdul Qadir resigned as chief selector during the World Twenty20 in June because of differences with the board's top brass, while Aamer Sohail quit as director of the National Cricket Academy the following month on similar grounds.

Earlier this year, Javed Miandad resigned as PCB's director general due to differences about the exact scope of his work. However, Miandad was back at his post a few weeks later after a meeting with Butt.

However, Altaf told PTI that he had not received any such termination notice from the PCB, claiming his ouster was illegal and unjustified. "When I left office today there was no such letter given to me. If it has been issued late in the day then I will look at it," he told PTI. "I retain the right to seek justice in the higher courts. I have been punished for questioning the one-man show in the board."