Ehsan Mani set to meet PM Imran Khan amid speculation over his future
With the PCB chairman's term due to end on August 25, Ramiz Raja's name has cropped up as a potential successor
Amid growing speculation around his future as PCB chairman, Ehsan Mani is set to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday. The meeting has, it is understood, been convened on Imran's wishes, and could be seen as significant to Mani's future within the board.
Mani's current term is due to end on August 25, two days after the meeting, though he has recently said he intends to continue in the post. Whether he does or does not, however, has become the subject of intense speculation in recent days in which the name of Ramiz Raja, the commentator and former Pakistan captain, has cropped up as a potential successor.
The Prime Minister is also patron of the PCB and the constitutional authority who, via the two nominees he appoints to the PCB board of governors, has a say in who becomes board chairperson. The ten-member governing board also includes four independent members, three provisional cricket association heads, and the chief executive officer. While all nine existing board members are eligible to contest the elections, historically only one of the two individuals directly nominated by the Prime Minister has become the PCB chairman.
Though the two nominees are yet to be named, the patron's office has already named a former supreme court judge, Justice (retired) Sheikh Azmat, as the commissioner to carry out the election of the PCB chairperson. Mani was previously the only candidate to have submitted his nomination papers for the post, and all members of the Board of Governors unanimously voted for him to head the PCB. He had replaced Najam Sethi, who had resigned when Imran's party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), came to power in the federal government.
In case the patron extends Mani's tenure, he will have to go through another process for his re-election as, according to the PCB constitution, a chairperson's total tenure "shall in no case exceed a period of six years". Mani has only completed three years so far.
No agenda has been revealed for the meeting with the Prime Minister, but the performance and the highlights over Mani's three years as chairman are likely to be discussed. During his term, Mani revamped the functioning of the PCB, redrafting the board's constitution to bring it in line with the practices of corporate governance. Until 2019, the PCB chairperson could also act as CEO, which gave them the power to implement whichever of the board's policies they thought were fit. This has since been curbed by introducing the position of a chief executive officer.
The PCB under Mani also brought in enormous changes in the domestic structure, dismantling the previous mix of departmental and regional cricket and implementing the provincial-team model at Imran's insistence. The change sparked country-wide outrage with the new system costing several players their livelihoods, but the PCB eventually created jobs for all veteran cricketers at the association level, offering them opportunities on various scales ranging from administrative jobs to field jobs.
Mani has also put in place a through review of Pakistan cricket's biggest revenue-generating product, the Pakistan Super League, and faces a time crunch to revise the financial model of the league. The PSL is set to reassess the value of its assets this year before selling its commercial and broadcasting rights. The last three-year cycle for the TV and digital streaming rights, worth approximately USD 36 million, has come to an end this year.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent