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Sethi starts new innings

Updated August 13, 2017

Last week, the new board of governors (BoG) elected Najam Sethi the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman at the board’s headquarters in Lahore. Mr Sethi, a famous political journalist, has already run the PCB as its ad hoc chairman in 2014. That period, however, was full of turmoil for him because of court battles that forced him to step down. Shaharyar Khan succeeded him who completed the three-year term.

He spent his term calmly. During this period, Mr Sethi as being the head of the powerful executive committee, also enjoyed powers.

There were reports that Mr Sethi would again face cases before the board elections. But the elections were held smoothly and all by retired Justice Afzal Haider. Mr Sethi was elected unopposed by the 10-member BoG. He has yet to give his executive policy statement as soon after the elections, he had to visit Sri Lanka to attend the Asian Cricket Council meeting.

Mr Sethi has taken over a very healthy board, as according to his predecessor, the financial matters of the PCB are stable. On the cricketing side, Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy in June while the Pakistan Super League, a great financial resource, has been strengthened under his own (Sethi) chairmanship. For this ideal situation, credit goes to all those running the board in the last three years.

This is the time Mr Sethi takes wise decisions to make the future of Pakistan cricket bright.

The 5th National Women Hockey Championships ended in Lahore last week. The Punjab Colours retained its title in all-Punjab final. It defeated the Punjab Whites 1-0 in the final to maintain the winning spree.

Pakistan Boards, Islamabad, Sindh and Balochistan team also took part in the championship but no team could perform well against any of the Punjab teams.

The Pakistan Boards beat Islamabad 1-0 to clinch the third spot.

Individual titles were also notched up by the two Punjab teams. Sharika Sarwar of the Punjab Whites was declared player of the tournament, while Anmol Arshad and Hamra Latif of Punjab Colours bagged the titles of best goalkeeper and top scorer of the event.

Overall, Hamra scored 24 goals in the tournament. The level of competition among the teams was not impressive. Though the Punjab Hockey Association fielded good teams, it seemed Sindh and Balochistan teams were not much interested in the event. In the past, even Karachi produced a good hockey teams but the standard of the hockey in the province is going down.

Up to 32 squash players, both men and women, are in Lahore competing in the first SNGPL National Jashn-i-Azadi Squash Championship.

Maria Toor, who was recently in headlines because of her sister, MNA Ayesha Gulalai, is also among the competitors. Reporters tried to talk with her on the political issue, but she very sensibly refused to comment. She also called Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan and Imran Khan national heroes.

Ms Toor also won her first match against Komal Khan of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She is representing Wapda in the event.

Ms Toor was once ranked the Pakistan top squash player. She vows to get back the top position in the future.

Prominent players participating in the competitions are top seed Israr Ahmad, Ahsan Ayaz, Ammad Fareed, Sadia Gul, Rushna Mehboob and Riffat Khan.

Last week, the Sports Board of Punjab (SBP) held cricket, badminton, kabaddi and volleyball matches to celebrate the 70th Independence Day.

It also has planned to hold a cycling event under which a race will be held from Kalma Chowk to Kahna Nau. The event is open to all cyclists.

For women, a cycling event of Team Sprint will also be held at the Cycling Veldrome, where men will also compete in the events of elimination and kirien races. However, the SBP must take some measures on Independence Day. At least it should start a programme to honour the outstanding athletes of the province, who have earned international achievements. It must be an annual event to honour such athletes. It should also do such a planning to be able to inaugurate any big sports facility in the province on the occasion of every Independence Day.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017