WITH the approval of a number of former players and ex-cricket administrators, Najam Sethi is all set to run the affairs of the Pakistan Cricket Board as its chairman. This is an improvement on the earlier arrangement in which he was, for all practical purposes, in charge of the game but without the cricket chief’s tag. No stranger to controversy, he would assert he has won the post on the strength of the good work he has done to lift Pakistan out of the hole it had been thrown into. His credentials received a boost after the recent Pakistani victory in the Champions Trophy which, the expert view held, had been made possible after the successful experiment of the Pakistan Super League under Mr Sethi’s command. The PSL, held in the Gulf, and then the Champions Trophy, were proof that grim circumstances did not necessarily rule out positive events. He brings to the job a certain kind of enterprise, even a brand of cheerfulness. He may have some issues — including a tendency to take up more than one job at a time and resort to the use of journalistic licence to overstate matters — but a large number of those who are familiar with PCB affairs are willing to allow him a shot at running the board without hindrance.
It’s been a tough journey that has taken Mr Sethi to the coveted position. The path ahead is going to be much tougher to navigate. The new chairman is given to making promises and predictions. He must remember that even the first signs of a struggle to deliver on his promises could result in flak from fans whose expectations are always very high. Ensuring the return of international cricket to Pakistan and reform of the domestic structure are a huge task. In addition, there is much work to be done regarding the uplift of women’s cricket in the country. This is also a challenge that the PCB under Mr Sethi should not neglect.
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017