LAHORE: While incumbent Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja despite all rumours remains very confident publicly about his future in the PCB, one can recall his predecessor Ehsan Mani also gave positive signals about an extension for a second three-year term after completing his first in 2021. However, the facts at that time were telling a different story.
The talk in the country’s cricketing circles over Ramiz’s future as PCB chairman is in top gear these days, despite the fact that the former Test opener has categorically denied — more than once — all the reports signalling he is going to leave the PCB.
In the media conferences which he addressed in Lahore and Karachi earlier this week, Ramiz while facing several questions about his future as PCB chief sounded confident. The 59-year-old was particularly upbeat at the Karachi presser during which he said, “I am not going anywhere; should I write it on a stamp paper and give it to you?”
The debate over the fate of PCB chairman started when former prime minister Imran Khan, who brought Ramiz in the PCB as chairman in September 2021 after Mani completed his three-year tenure, was removed through a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly in April this year. As a result of the motion, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif was elected as the new PM.
As a long held tradition in Pakistan cricket, every patron-in-chief of the PCB either as prime minister or president, elevates his like-minded person to the post of PCB chairman.
According to the two letters exchanged between principal secretary Azam Khan of then PM Imran Khan and the PCB, a few months before the end of Mani’s tenure the situation was not in his favour. However, in public reports coming out of the PCB, showed Mani will continue as the chairman for another three years.
One of the above-mentioned letters, written on June 28, 2021 by chief operating officer Salman Naseer, who is still working on the same post, stated: “Following the PCB chairman’s meeting with the PCB Patron last week, I have been advised to forward to you a draft of the Notification to be issued on behalf of the PCB patron, who is empowered by Clause 12(1)(b) of the PCB constitution to nominate two individuals to the PCB Board of Governors for a period of three years.
“A draft of the notification is enclosed herewith for your consideration and further necessary action. The draft incorporates the details discussed at the aforesaid meeting. Pursuant to issuance of the official notification, I will seek to coordinate with you in relation to the next step to be undertaken in accordance with the PCB constitution,” the letter added.
But in his reply written on July 6, eight days after receiving Salman’s letter, Azam raised an objection over the way the June 28 letter was directly sent to him instead of using the right channel of Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) committee.
In his letter, Azam said, “Please find enclosed herewith a letter dated 28th June, 2021 on the subject cited above. 2. On perusal of the above-mentioned letter, the Prime Minister has been pleased to observe as follows: a. The manner of submission of cases for orders of the Prime Minister is specified, clearly and unambiguously, in Rule 15(2) of the Rules of Business. The same has not been followed; b. The Ministry of IPC, the controlling Ministry of the PCB, has been bypassed; c. The letter is addressed to the Secretary to the Prime Minister and the enclosed notification has been submitted for his perusal and further necessary action; and d. The letter has been written by the Chief Operating Officer, while the executive head of the PCB is its Chief Executive Officer 3. In view of the above, the Prime Minister, being Patron of the PCB, has been pleased to direct that Ministry of IPC shall, at the earliest but not later than seven days,“submit a summary for orders of the Prime Minister for nomination of two members on the Board of Governors of PCB in terms of Clause 12(1)(b), read with Clauses 5(1) and 12(5), of the PCB Constitution In the manner specified in Rule 15(2) of the Rules of Business, 1973.”
On Aug 26, 2021, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat in collaboration with the IPC committee issued the names of two nominees — retaining the name of Asad Ali Khan and including Ramiz in place of Mani.
Ramiz remains confident that his performance as PCB chairman carries weight. Therefore, it seems it will not be easy for the prime minister to replace him.
“Look, he [the prime minister] is the PCB patron-in-chief. I think if fans are with you and your performance also speaks [in your favour] then it will be difficult [for the authorities] to make a decision but he [PM] is the patron-in-chief and it is his call,” was Ramiz’s reply to a question about his future in the PCB during a presser recently.
Though an unnecessary change at the top is unwarranted, the same, one can recall, was made by Imran Khan as PM in replacing Najam Sethi. Sethi’s performance could not be termed bad and included three successful editions of the Pakistan Super League launched in 2016 and Pakistan’s triumph in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. However, Imran very soon after taking charge in 2018 had replaced Sethi with Mani to uphold the tradition.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022