It seems the affairs of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are being run by an individual who is more powerful than the ageing outgoing chairman Shaharyar Mohammad Khan.
The latest example of this came to the fore on Monday when tried and failed official Haroon Rashid reopened his account with the board as Director Cricket Operations.
Without being harsh on the former Pakistan batsman, who had a very long association with the PCB in numerous key positions, the announcement makes a complete mockery to what the PCB chairman had said in an exclusive interview with this paper barely a fortnight ago (April 4).
While commenting on the future of Misbah-ul-Haq, who held an official media conference two days later (April 6) to announce his international retirement following the upcoming Test series against the West Indies, Shaharyar had coherently observed that the PCB won’t let go the retiring Pakistan skipper and instead would assign him a key role in the cricket board.
“Obviously, we cannot afford to overlook the tremendous services rendered by Misbah. He is well-educated, honourable, decent man. We would definitely want to make use of his [cricketing] knowledge and could appoint him as Director Cricket, just the England & Wales Cricket Board has made [former captain] Andre Strauss as Director of England Cricket [in 2015],” Shaharyar said during the Dawn interview. “I believe Misbah deserves this sort of recognition for the services he has rendered for Pakistan [cricket].”
The induction of Haroon after being out of favour with the PCB top hierarchy since resigning as chief selector last year after previously serving the board as director game development and Pakistan team manager comes as a complete surprise.
The PCB, in its media release, has simply stated that Haroon is being appointed as Director Cricket Operations after completing all the formalities and the interview process. The ‘formalities’ are unclear but probably the top brass may not want to mention them as yet.
In hindsight, the PCB are reluctant to make any commitment on what Shaharyar, who is due to see out his second term as PCB chief after the ICC annual conference in London this June, had indicated in his official capacity because Misbah is not retiring from competitive cricket at the conclusion of the West Indies tour.
In his media briefing, the soon-to-be 43 Pakistan Test captain had said: “I have not made any specific plan about my future. At present I am focussed on the three-match Test series. I will play domestic cricket for some more time and if I do not enjoy it, then will think about anything else.”
Maybe Misbah is reluctant to take the plunge straightaway from being a cricketer to an administrator. Or perhaps the PCB failed to find anyone else who could take up the challenge of running Pakistan cricket, both internationally and domestically.
The soft-spoken Haroon, to his credit, has not been involved in controversies or malpractices whenever he was in the PCB fold as administrator during the past.
But again going back to what Shaharyar said in the interview, does bringing back a 64-year-old makes any sense? The board head emphasized on the need to have ‘young blood’ in the PCB administration and even gave his own example of being too old (84-year-old last month) to run the cricketing affairs.
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2017