Ehsan Mani set to succeed Najam Sethi as PCB Chairman

So, the drop scene finally came on Monday (August 20). Following Imran Khan’s election as the prime minister last week, Najam Sethi resigned from the post of the PCB Chairman after spending a year in the office. His term was to expire in 2020. After Sethi’s resignation, the Pakistan premier took to Twitter to announce Ehsan Mani, former ICC president, as PCB chairman.

According to the constitution of the PCB, Khan, who is the Patron of the board, can nominate Mani to Board of Governors (BoG) after which a special meeting of the BoG will be called for the election of the new chairman. The candidates, for the post of the chairman, and voters will be from the BoG.

“I have appointed Ehsan Mani as Chairman PCB,” Khan tweeted. “He brings vast and valuable experience to the job. He represented PCB in the ICC; was Treasurer ICC for 3 yrs and then headed the ICC for another 3 yrs.”

Speaking to Dunya News after his nomination to the PCB BoG, Mani said: “I will have to understand the issues that persist in the cricket board. I will work to enhance the domestic cricket according to Khan’s vision and bring its strength back.”

Mani, a Chartered Accountant by profession, was elected as the ICC President in 2003. He represented PCB in the sport’s world body from 1989 till 1996 from where onward, he was unanimously elected as the chairman of ICC Finance and Marketing committee. He was Pakistan’s representative on the organising committee of the 1996 World Cup and was on the advisory committee for the 1999 World Cup.

It is customary in Pakistan that the PCB chairman is changed with a change in federal government. And, with the history Khan and Sethi share, the resignation was on the cards.

Since the previous general elections in 2013, during the course of which Sethi was appointed as the chief minister of Punjab, the country’s largest province, Khan had accused him of rigging the elections in favor of his rival Nawaz Sharif, whose party, Pakistan Muslim League, won the elections.

“You have said on many occasions that you have a vision for Pakistan Cricket,” Sethi said in his resignation letter addressed to Khan. “Therefore it is only proper that you should assume charge and responsibility for assembling a management team for PCB that enjoys your full confidence and trust.

“In order to facilitate your objectives in the interest of Pakistan cricket, I hereby submit my resignation as Chairman of PCB and Member of its BoG (Board of Governors)… I believe I have served the cause of cricket diligently.”

Sethi, a journalist and a publisher, first became chairman of the PCB in 2013 after being appointed to the post by then prime minister Sharif on interim basis as Zaka Ashraf was ordered to halt work due to allegations of his unfair election to the post. Sethi was given the charge to frame a new constitution.

A legal battle between Sethi and Ashraf followed that saw the two in and out of the office until Shahryar Khan was unanimously elected as chairman by a Supreme Court intervention in 2014.

Sethi was then nominated to the BoG in 2014 for a three-year term by Sharif and then till 2020 by Sharif’s successor Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Sethi is credited for launching the PSL and bringing Zimbabwe, World XI, Sri Lanka, and West Indies to Pakistan for international matches. This year, Pakistan hosted three PSL fixtures in Lahore and Karachi after the final of the 2017 edition was hosted in Lahore, which played a role in convincing international teams to visit the country.

Yet, last month New Zealand refused to send their senior side to Pakistan for solitary T20I, which underscores the existent trust deficit, something Sethi’s critics point out. There has been criticism on Sethi for the high costs the country’s cricket board had to bear to ensure presidential level security for the visiting sides and the lucrative checks offered to the players.

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