Ramiz Raja emerges as leading contender to take over as PCB chairman

Published August 26, 2021
Famed commentator Ramiz Raja (pictured) appears set to take over from Ehsan Mani as PCB chairman. — Reuters/File
Famed commentator Ramiz Raja (pictured) appears set to take over from Ehsan Mani as PCB chairman. — Reuters/File

Cricketer-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja could soon embark on a new career in sports administration as he says he has been nominated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to become the next chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

In an interview with Dawn.com, Raja confirmed to "have been informed by the Prime Minister's Office" that he is PM Imran's choice to take over the PCB from Ehsan Mani.

Raja said an official notification of his nomination by the prime minister, also the PCB's patron-in-chief, will be issued soon, following which he would contest PCB elections and become the new chairman of the board.

Meanwhile, Mani, whose three-year term ended on Wednesday, is all but out of the door as a senior PCB official, on condition of anonymity, said that "he will not be continuing as the PCB chairman."

It is pertinent to mention here that the practice of the government's head nominating PCB chairmen is in stark contrast to PM Imran's former position on the subject. Back in 2015, he had demanded a "democratically elected cricket board", saying that the PCB would be powerful only if it had elected officials.

Ehsan Mani wanted another term to complete 'unfinished' tasks: sources

Raja's nomination, if true, comes after PM Imran held separate meetings with both Mani and Raja earlier this week.

Sources said the prime minister wanted to replace Mani, who had sought a second term to complete "unfinished" tasks.

A source said Mani was a bit "off colour" when he came out of the PM’s Office after the meeting.

After meeting Mani, the prime minister met Ramiz who also served Pakistan captain during his playing days.

Earlier, sources had said that the prime minister would approve two names for PCB’s Board of Governors and there are certain chances that both Mani and Ramiz will be nominated as BoG members as only a member of the Board of Governors can contest elections for the post of PCB chairman.

There are chances that Mani will retain his position as the BoG member and another member Asad Ali Khan will be replaced by Ramiz, sources had revealed.

Meanwhile, sources said during his meeting with Mani, the prime minister showed his displeasure over Pakistan’s poor performance in England where the national team lost the T20 series 1-2 besides suffering a 0-3 ODI whitewash in July this year.

Mani was appointed as BoG member by the prime minister three years ago, and subsequently he contested and won elections to become PCB head in September 2018, replacing Najam Sethi who had resigned.

Outgoing chairman Mani's legacy

During three years as PCB chairman, Mani who also served as the president of the International Cricket Council played good role for restoring international cricket in Pakistan. On the other hand, the transformation of the domestic structure which ended departments’ role in the game resulting in many departmental cricketers getting jobless also took place during his time in office.

Mani also got PCB’s new constitution approved.

However during his tenure, club cricket faced a tough challenge as there was no recognised and approved contest at club level, which is the nursery of cricket.

While the PCB is yet to complete the registration process of the six newly formed provincial associations. Besides gradually bringing the Pakistan Super League T20 tournament, PCB’s flagship event, to Pakistan from 2019 and afterwards, the Mani-led PCB regime also submitted expression of interest for hosting six international events during the 2024-2031 ICC Future Tours Programme.

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