Arif Ali Abbasi appointed PCB chief consultant
Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has appointed the board's former chief executive officer Arif Ali Abbasi as his chief consultant. Abbasi will advise PCB on policy and cricketing affairs, though it remains to be seen how long his appointment will stand given the appeal in the Supreme Court against the reinstatement of Ashraf.
Abbasi headed Pakistan International Airlines between 1990 to 2000 in three different stints, and led the cricket board, the hockey federation of Pakistan and the squash federation of Pakistan through much of the 80s and 90s. He is credited with helping commercialise the game in Pakistan more than any other administrator.
The formerly dismissed Ashraf took charge of the PCB again on Monday, and is set to review all the decisions taken by the previous set-up led by Najam Sethi in last four months. On his second formal day back, Ashraf offered Abbasi the role of advisor, which was accepted by the former high-profile administrator. The precise role isn't defined by the PCB but ESPNcricinfo understands that one of the reasons for the Ashraf-led board's association with Abbasi is to pose a strong lobby against the government in the ongoing tussle.
"Cricket is being treated unfairly and (instability) at PCB will derail the game," said Abbasi, standing beside Ashraf in a media talk at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. "The success is in consistency and the ongoing legal tussle will bring the country a bad name and nothing else. I know in the present circumstances it is tough but I like to take challenges. I know there are hurdles at the moment but there is a need to tackle them rather than running away."
Despite the induction of Abbasi, the PCB is facing uncertainty as there is a possibility that the judgment that brought Ashraf back to the helm might be shot down by the Supreme Court. Also, the board's Patron (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) might once again dissolve the Ashraf-led board to impose yet another ad hoc ruling committee. The hearing is set for May 21 in Islamabad, and another intense protracted legal tussle is expected.
Meanwhile, Ashraf has hinted at a revised coach hunt process and the decision of naming a coaching group headed by Waqar Younis by Sethi-led management committee could be struck down. "I know it's very difficult but we can't endorse the decision made by previous set-up but what we can do is hire through a fast-process," Ashraf said.
The IHC judgment has restored the PCB to the status it was on February 10 - the day Ashraf was removed by the Patron. The High Court also declared every decision made, either cricketing or administrative, in last four months null and void. "We have no idea what the upcoming day will bring for us," an official told ESPNcricinfo on the condition of anonymity. "Everything is reverted back to February and instead of progressing we are moving backward as there are various things that had been developed that are disrupted with Ashraf's return. Now we have to start over but we can't cancel our international commitments."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson