Pakistan news October 11, 2011

Top banker tipped to replace Ijaz Butt

ESPNcricinfo staff

Zaka Ashraf, a top banker and businessman, is understood to have been picked as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board succeeding Ijaz Butt, though a formal announcement to that effect is awaited. Ashraf is president of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited and a close confidant of Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, who as Patron of the board will make the formal appointment.

The news has not been officially confirmed by the PCB and in fact senior officials insisted that no decision had been taken; Butt, who is on an extension of tenure, himself told reporters he was not aware of any notification and would be at his office on Wednesday morning. However, Ashraf's name was all over the Pakistani media, including, significantly, the government-run PTV channel.

Ashraf himself appeared on private TV channels and spoke at length about his plans for the PCB. His priority, he said, was to improve Pakistan cricket's image abroad after a series of high-profile scandals. "I will work day and night to live up to President Zardari's confidence. My top priority will be to improve Pakistan's cricket image and stop bookies and match-fixers."

He also said he would try to improve relations with other cricket boards - including India, with whom sporting and diplomatic ties have stalled after a terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008. "People in both Pakistan and India love cricket so I will try to resume ties," he was quoted as saying.

Ashraf's three-year term as president of ZTBL ended on September 3, 2011, and he is expected not to carry on in the position once he takes over his duties as PCB chairman. ZTBL is one of Pakistan's top public-sector banks and is also represented by a team in Division One of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, the domestic first-class competition. The team features several players who have played for Pakistan, including Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Hameed, Imran Nazir and Zulqarnain Haider.

Apart from being president of ZTBL, Ashraf is co-chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Punjab zone. He reportedly studied with Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari in college and stayed in the same hostel.

Butt, whose three-year tenure ended on October 8, had attended the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai on October 10 with an extension of his tenure under consideration. His term was plagued with controversies, including the armed attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore that resulted in Pakistan being denied the chance to co-host the 2011 World Cup, the spot-fixing scandal (and the problems with the ECB in its aftermath when Butt made controversial accusations against the England team), Zulqarnain Haider's fleeing to the UK mid-way through a tour after receiving threats from bookies and, most recently, a much-publicised clash with Shahid Afridi.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • K S K on October 13, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    orright he is gone now what?

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 20:08 GMT

    Shahid Afridi has come back as Ejaz Butt's contract had been over and he will announce the notification today...

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 19:14 GMT

    There is nothing wrong in a banker running the board, but before that heir achy of the board should be defined . A chairman is responsible for running of the board and is not responsible for the day to day operations and selection and other matters .. For that one has COOs, CEOs and Head of departments .. A Chairman is there to put a check on them on behalf of the President of Pakistan and public ..

    Although Ehsan Mani or Dr. M A Shah could have been better choices but the guy has experience of running the board, so he can be a good administrator of the cricket board given that he does not interfere in day to day dealings.

  • Habib on October 12, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    If an Agriculture Minister can run ICC then why can't a Banker run PCB? What's the big deal in it !!!

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    A banker? Hello!!! is this a sane decision? Hell no. Why don't we look for someone like Zaheer Abbas or Intikhab Alam or someone else wit cricket expertise? PCB is not a financial company, we need cricketers to lead it, not businessmen. We have a great team in 1999, then we appointed Zia, a army general, then Naseem, a cultural expert, and now we have a banker? Thats lame. Cricket cannot be insulted more.

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 16:23 GMT

    i think Boom Boom now consider improving his atitude towards the game and in general his role in the team provided he is slected.

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 16:18 GMT

    good to hear and see this change

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    goom morning every body.....................good news for shahid afridi.....we are apreshiead welcome to boom boom afridi................and also requist to afridi plz quick come back to pak team

  • Dummy4 on October 12, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    well i dont know if he is the right choice but as far as his reputation goes being a administrator is very he was made the president of ztbl bank punjab when they were crisis and tht organization is one the best in pakistan well lets see how he runs pcb and he is also known as dosent involve himself with onfield interest and works behind closed doors that is wht he is there for .... lets hope for the best

  • mohammed on October 12, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    thannx god boom boom will appear again in cricket well done afridi

  • No featured comments at the moment.