Pakistan news June 19, 2013

PCB in turmoil after chairman's suspension

The crisis in the PCB surrounding the suspension of Zaka Ashraf as chairman is having its deepest impact on the team's tour of the West Indies in the middle of July, starting with the memorandum of understanding between two boards and the selection of the team. It has also led to a delay in the PCB budget this year that, among other things, could affect salaries and player contracts.

The suspension of Ashraf has also led to an impasse in the board, with officials saying it is not possible for key decisions to be signed, be it the MoU with the WICB or the search for the home broadcasters. Ashraf's suspension is now being argued in the Islamabad High Court, which on Wednesday once again ordered the government to name an interim PCB chairman within three days and report on the next hearing on June 24.

In a third hearing of the judicial petition against the PCB's new constitution, the court decision left the board's major activities on hold. This uncertain status at the top could make its first dent at the ICC's annual meeting next week, as Pakistan along with other Full Members are due to give their response to the ICC guidelines about decreased government interference in cricket administration.

The PCB constitution allows its chairman near-absolute powers, making it almost a one-man show. Under the PCB constitution, the PCB chairman is also the chief executive officer and every major decision needs his approval - effectively giving the post of chief operating officer very limited powers.

The PCB was undecided about who will represent them at the conference, starting June 25. In 2011 the ICC had given a two-year deadline to the member boards to democratise their constitutions and remove government involvement in a bid to improve governance. Even though the ICC had relaxed its clause about the role of governments and the PCB tweaked its constitution slightly under Ashraf's chairmanship, the current situation is bound to raise concerns.

When Ashraf became the first incumbent elected president for another four-year term in May, it was the first such appointment under the new constitution. The IHC, however, ordered Ashraf's suspension, citing the election process "dubious" and "polluted".

The court, however, had not suspended the new constitution. The petition against the PCB was centred on the amendments made in it, especially those pertaining to the election of the chairman.

A government lawyer Irfanullah informed the IHC that former Pakistan captain Majid Khan was among three candidates for the role of acting chairman, and their names have already sent to the Prime Minister - who will make a final call. The commentator Chishty Mujahid and former chief of the Federal Board of Revenue Mumtaz Haider Rizvi are the other candidates.

The revised constitution also restructured the composition of the board of governors. The new 14-member body included five regional representatives selected on a rotation basis, five representatives of service organisations and departments, two non-voting former cricketers appointed on the recommendation of the chairman and two non-voting technocrats picked from a panel of three recommended by the chairman in consultation with the President of Pakistan. The term of each member was to be one year, but large regional associations like Lahore and Karachi along with Sialkot, Faisalabad and Multan are keen to have a permanent role on the board.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets here