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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
11 Muharram 1446  

PCB gets new regime, major changes expected

A change had been on the cards since April, when Imran Khan was ousted as PM
File photo.
File photo.

Pakistan cricket chief Ramiz Raja has been sacked just days after the national team suffered a humiliating Test series defeat at the hands of England, according to a government notice.

Appointments to run the sport in the cricket-mad country are highly politicised, and responsibility lies with the prime minister and cabinet.

England wrapped up the third Test on Tuesday to hand Pakistan their first-ever 3-0 home series whitewash.

But a change had been on the cards since April, when Imran Khan - a former national captain - was ousted as prime minister and replaced by Shehbaz Sharif.

Raja, a member of Khan’s 1992 World Cup-winning side, was appointed chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in September last year.

A government notice said Sharif’s cabinet had dismissed Raja, and the PCB would now be run by a 14-member committee headed by Najam Sethi, who has twice served as chairman.

The committee also includes Shahid Afridi and Sana Mir, former captains of the men’s and women’s teams.

The government notice also said the current constitution of the board has been scrapped, and one dating from 2014 revived.

The committee will have 120 days to change the constitution and elect a new chairman. “The cricket regime headed by Ramiz Raja @iramizraja is no more,” Sethi tweeted Thursday.

“The 2014 PCB constitution stands restored. The Management Committee will work tirelessly to revive first class cricket.”

Khan came under fire for changing the PCB’s constitution in 2019 – in particular for abolishing the role of government departments and private entities in first-class cricket, leaving hundreds unemployed.

In his tweet, Sethi said “thousands of cricketers will be employed again”.

“The famine in cricket will come to an end,” he said.

Raja was not immediately available to comment, but sources said it was likely he would contest his removal through the courts.

The shake-up comes as New Zealand arrived Thursday for a tour that will include two Tests and three one-day internationals.

Changes to domestic cricket

A part of the shake-up that has brought Sethi to the management again involves going back to PCB’s 2014 constitution. This would mean going back to departmental format instead of the regional format for first class crciket and was presumably the subject of Sethi’s comment about remploying ‘thousands’ of cricketers.

However, Sethi’s return might lead to more changes. When asked if changes to the squad and team management were expected, he said it would be difficult now that a squad has already been announced for the New Zealand tour.

He added that he had stepped aside himself when the PML-N government ended, even though he had been assured ‘from the top’ that his place was secure. He said that even though he had no clash with Ramiz Raja, changes are only made when things are not made.

On resumption of cricket with India, he said that this is a matter which needs input from the government. But he added that Peshawar’s stadium will host international cricket as soon as completed.

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imran khan

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