Sethi elected PCB chairman

Najam Sethi addresses the PCB's Board of Governors PCB

The PCB's new Board of Governors (BoG) has picked the Prime Minister of Pakistan's direct nominee Najam Sethi as board chairman for the next three years. Sethi was unanimously elected from within the 10-member BoG as no other member of the BoG filed nomination papers for the post.

Sethi's chances of taking over as chairman were very high after he was named on the PCB's BoG on July 8 by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif - who was later disqualified by the country's Supreme Court - as one of two direct nominees along with Ariff Ejaz, a prominent corporate figure. According to the PCB constitution, the chairman has to be elected from among those persons on the BoG.

The previous three-year tenure ended when chairman Shaharyar Khan resigned, aged 83, citing personal and health reasons. Ejaz will be his replacement on the BoG, with representatives from the Lahore regions, Quetta, Sialkot, FATA, Peshawar, Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Among the other four members, Water and Power Development Authority and United Bank Limited will retain their seats while Habib Bank Limited and Sui Southern Gas Company Limited have replaced Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited and National Bank of Pakistan.

"I want to thank the new board of governors who have elected me unanimously today," Sethi said, after being elected. "It's a big responsibility on me and with their cooperation we will move forward. Secondly, I want to thank Shaharyar Khan also. It was a very good journey along with him. Lots of people thought there will be a gulf between us, but it never happened and he was a gracious and wonderful man to work with.

"There are challenges but the main target is to make domestic cricket much stronger and keep tapping into the talent. The other major issue is that our all hard work will go in vain if we are not able to bring international cricket back to the country. Moreover, I am disappointed with [Pakistan's progress in] women's cricket. There are few good ideas and we will look to implement some reforms. We have done a lot of work and doing much more to make this possible .. lots of people are disappointed and I request them to show some patience. There are security issues. One day we decide that a team will come and then something happens. Over the next 2-3 months you will hear some good announcements."

This is Sethi's second term in charge after the long battle over the leadership of the PCB between Zaka Ashraf and Sethi, which ended in May 2014; there had been multiple leadership changes in the PCB, after Ashraf became the first elected PCB chairman in May 2013.

The Islamabad High Court termed those elections "dubious", and Sethi was put in charge by the government. Ashraf and Sethi were then alternately reappointed and sacked from the post several times, before Sethi eventually filed a written statement before the court that he will not contest elections for the chairman's post.

Sethi, however, remained on the PCB's BoG and head of the Executive Committee (ExCo) to control cricket affairs in Pakistan. In that period, Sethi was involved in the day-to-day functioning of the PCB and became an influential board member with signing authority. Although the PCB did not reveal the ExCo's functions, it is understood that the committee holds significant influence in the board.

Apart from the ExCo, five other committees - cricket, domestic, HR, Audit, Game Development - were formed with the previous BoG members dissolved with immediate effect. The new committees will be formed with newly inducted members on the Board in due course though Sethi confirmed that the ExCo would disband once and for all during his term as chairman.

The entire national coaching staff will remain in charge, he said, with physiotherapist Shaun Hayes the only member whose contract will not be renewed. He will be released with the PCB paying him his salary for the remaining three months of his current contract. The national selection committee led by Inzamam ul Haq will stay in place along with National Cricket Academy director Mudassar Nazar.

Sethi, 69, a former caretaker chief minister of Punjab, comes from a journalism background. He has also been a driving force behind the Pakistan Super League.