Pakistan news August 25, 2013

PCB approves provisional budget for 2013-14

The PCB governing board has provisionally approved a budget of approximately rupees 3 billion ($29 million approximately) with a deficit of rupees 500 million for the year 2013-14. The much-awaited budget announcement, which came after a delay of almost two months, is a relief for the contracted players who, after not being paid their retainerships since January this year, have now been promised a 15 percent hike in their monthly retainerships. The budget hasn't offered a hike for the PCB employees.

Najam Sethi, the interim PCB chairman, presided over the governing board meeting to approve the provisional budget with three regional and three departmental/services heads, two technocrats and one of two former cricketers. Former wicket-keeper batsman Imtiaz Ahmad was not present due to personal commitments. The meeting went on for six hours at the National Cricket Academy and budget was the major agenda that dominated the meeting.

Compared to the previous budget, the PCB had a flat year as it failed to find any revenue, but it was also a less expensive year as Pakistan hosted only one limited-overs series against Australia in the UAE in August 2012. Pakistan also saved further expense as it did not host any international junior team tournament in the previous fiscal year.

The PCB had hoped the limited-overs series in India and the Pakistan Super League would help it overcome a shortfall of 70 crore rupees ($6.7 million approx) in last year's budget, but it didn't go as per plan. India refused to share its revenue from the ODIs and the T20s, while the PSL was postponed over logistical issues. ESPNcricinfo, however, understands the reduction in deficit was the result of the abandoned home series with Bangladesh and various under-19 team tours to Pakistan within the fiscal year.

The budget was delayed over the Islamabad High Court's judgement which barred the interim PCB chairman to take major decisions. However, the PCB, after consultation with Pakistan Attorney General and the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination, has decided to approve the budget with a provision that the new full-time chairman can review it further.

IHC in its order, while disposing off a writ petition of removing Zaka Ashraf as the PCB chairman, had given a detailed decision on July 4 under which it has ordered the interim chairman Sethi to work as caretaker and hold election in 90 days to bring in a full-time elected chairman.

The chances of the generation of revenue in the upcoming year appear bleak but the PCB is hoping to further reduce the deficit by agreeing to cuts in administrative expenses. The PCB is set to sell its broadcasting rights for the South Africa and Sri Lanka series on August 31 but the value is unlikely to hike up the budget.

The PCB has been facing a financial crunch mainly because of teams refusing to tour Pakistan due to security concerns following the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009. Since then, Pakistan has been forced to host teams at neutral venues. The 2010-2011 budget was also in the red, before it was boosted by the hefty compensation that the ICC paid the board, following Pakistan's removal as co-host of the 2011 World Cup.

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