LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has been appointed as the global talent hunt programme director while Pakistan’s famous all-rounder and ex-T20 skipper Shahid Afridi has been named as ‘Icon’ along with ex-Indian opener Virender Sehwag and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum for the second edition of the T-10 Cricket League scheduled to be held in UAE from Nov 23 to Dec 1.
“Embarking on a global talent hunt programme to provide talent feed to Emirates Cricket Board, the league has appointed Wasim Akram as Director of Talent Hunt programme besides appointing Shahid Afridi, Virender Sehwag and Brendon McCullum as the league icons,” a press release issued by the T-10 League organisers said on Tuesday.
It has also appointed former Sri Lankan One-day skipper and ex-ICC match-referee Roshan Mahanama as head of the technical committee of the T10 league to ensure the implementation of all the codes of the ICC.
Wasim given key post, Afridi named icon in League
However, despite the prestigious positions awarded to both Wasim and Afridi by the league organisers, the PCB is yet to take a decision whether to allow its cricketers to participate in the second edition of the T-10 league.
Last year, the PCB cleared the players after holding negotiations with the organisers over some issues including a deposit of USD 400,000 for allowing its cricketers for the week-long event. This year, the T-10 organisers have promised to give USD 600,000 to PCB for releasing its players. However, the change of command at the PCB which has seen seasoned official Ehsan Mani taking over the chairman’s post from Najam Sethi has changed the scenario quite a bit.
Though the T10 league has received a clearance from the ICC, the new management of the PCB is still looking for some answers before allowing its players to compete in the second edition. “We are yet to receive answers to our queries from certain quarters to clear the cricketers for the league and after getting it we will decide,” a PCB spokesman said.
“Currently, the high officials are busy dealing with the legal case the PCB has filed against India for not honouring the MOU signed between the two countries and only after that this issue will be taken up,” the spokesman said.
Certainly, the cricketers whose bread and butter is the game itself are anxiously awaiting the final decision from the PCB with regards to the permission to play the T10 league. It may be mentioned here that the PCB has already decided to only allow retired Pakistani cricketers to play in the inaugural edition of the Afghan T20 League being held in the UAE at the end of the October this year.
The ICC has not yet raised any questions about the possibility of corruption in the league as its own anti-corruption unit is also involved in monitoring the T-10 arrangements. However, an untoward situation arose when a former Pakistani national resigned as the president of the T10 league along with his own appointed CEO, raising suspicions about the affairs of the T10 league.
The timing of the Pakistani national’s resignation is questionable indeed since his decision came in September 2018 — almost after a year since the first edition was held in 2017.
Sources told Dawn that the new PCB chairman Ehsan Mani may also consult Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also the Board’s Patron-in-Chief, before taking a final decision on giving clearance to the players.
“The ICC is cricket’s governing body and its anti-corruption unit examines each league on financial and corruption-related issues. The league management continues to work with the ICC/ECB to deliver a corruption free tournament and as a result there is no change to the existing sanction [of the ICC],” a T10 League press release said on Tuesday.
“The 2018 edition is scheduled to start from November 23 and will spread over 10 days during which 29 matches will be played as compared to the four-day event held in 2017,” it added. “To meet this new challenge and also to keep the event clean, the league management has made many positive changes to bolster the execution and operation of the 2018 T10 event,” the press release further said.
Nawab Shaji-ul-Mulk, chairman of the T10 league, said: “The first edition was a great experience of launching a completely new concept of 90 minutes cricket. We made sure all the key areas were covered and the event was executed successfully. DPM managed the operations, the ICC ACU Unit managed the anti corruption activity and we also had Col. Azam from PCB monitoring the Pakistani players,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2018