LAHORE: With the management committee taking over the Pakistan Cricket Board, the dismissals of the old guard have begun.

Najam Sethi, the former PCB chairman who is heading the management committee, on Friday informed that that a new selection committee will be finalised on Saturday, when the fate of the coaching staff of the senior team will also be decided while an attempt will also be made to host matches of the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League in Quetta.

All that is in addition to the four-month mandate of the 14-member management committee, installed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as the old setup of the PCB led by Ramiz Raja was discontinued, which includes restoring the previous constitution of the country’s cricket governing body and holding fresh elections.

“The previous national selection committee headed by Mohammad Wasim has been abolished and a new one would be finalised [when we meet again] on Saturday,” Sethi told reporters, adding that other committees including cricket and finance had also been disbanded.

Pakistan’s coaching panel led by Saqlain Mushtaq seem to be headed for the exit door too as Sethi said he believes that foreign coaches are more suited to the national team as compared to local coaches.

“Foreign coaches are more qualified, skillful and have no affiliation with any particular player, while in our culture our coaches have soft hearts for a few,” said Sethi, who had appointed the services of South African Mickey Arthur during his tenure as the PCB chairman.

“In my previous tenure, we hired Arthur as head coach and we became number one in Test and One-day cricket besides winning the Champions Trophy [in 2017].”

Arthur is currently coaching Derbyshire in English county cricket and is the most likely candidate for the head coach job. Sethi, though, dispelled the notion that the current panel will be rendered jobless.

“It does not in any way mean the services of our star cricketers will not be utilised and we will take the benefits of their expertise in different ways,” he said, adding that at the end of the ongoing Pakistan Cup, the Provincial Cricket Associations formed under the new constitution of 2019 would be disbanded. “But no coaches would be sacked as the PCB would fulfil its contract made with them,” added Sethi.

Sethi informed he had spoken with the Quetta Corps Commander and the Army was very happy about the prospect of the Bugti Stadium hosting matches of the PSL.

“PCB’s infrastructure team would soon visit Quetta to inspect the facilities at the stadium and we would extend all support including finance to prepare the venue for the matches for the PSL-8 which is scheduled to be held in February-March this year,” said Sethi.

The major task of the management committee is to restore departmental cricket, which was part of the PCB’s previous constitution of 2014.

“We have prepared new models for that and after we agree upon one, a meeting will be held with the prime minister as well as the departmental heads to cooperate on the restoration job,” said Sethi, who also said that the salary structure of the PCB will be reviewed.

The Pakistan Women’s Super League, a project initiated by former chairman Ramiz, is set to continue although there would be discussions over the Pakistan Junior League.

The inaugural edition of the women’s league was due to coincide with the PSL next year but Sethi said that franchises would be consulted on whether the scheduling should change. “I will try my best to strengthen women’s cricket and hold a separate Pakistan Women Super League to give a positive message to the world about the country,” vowed Sethi.

PSL head Usman Wahla and Director Domestic Cricket Nadeem Khan also briefed the management committee. It has been learnt that the management committee isn’t happy with the working of the latter as it didn’t receive satisfactory replies about why the registration and scrutiny of clubs across the country couldn’t be completed in the last three years.

The plan of setting up a rehabilitation laboratory at the National Cricket Academy has also been rejected with the committee in favour of utilizing the facility at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

Sethi sidestepped questions regarding the appointment of separate captains for each format but did say that he will look into the issues surrounding the pitch at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, which received demerit points, for the opening Test of the recently-concluded series against England.

“I have asked [management committee members] Haroon-ur-Rasheed and Shakeel Sheikh to take up the issue and am also sending Haroon to Karachi to have a look at the pitch before the first Test of the series against New Zealand [which begins on Monday],” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2022

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