LAHORE: Signs suggest that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Mohsin Naqvi is hesitant to release payments owed to Mohammad Hafeez for his stint as former team director of the national side, as well as payments due to domestic cricketers who participated in various tournaments last year. This hesitation appears to stem from the fact that all these activities were conducted under the supervision of Mohsin’s predecessor Zaka Ashraf.

Sources disclosed to Dawn that neither Hafeez has received any payments from the PCB for his brief tenure as team director, which began on Nov 16, 2023, and concluded on Feb 16, 2024, nor have the domestic cricketers received their dues.

Hafeez was appointed as team director by the Zaka after Mickey Arthur was removed from the post due to the team’s poor performances in the Asia Cup and the World Cup last year.

Zaka, serving as chairman of the PCB’s interim Management Comm­ittee, also recommended Hafeez’s appointment to then caretaker Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq for approval as team director for four years. However, Zaka’s recommendation did not receive approval before his resignation from his post.

During Hafeez’s tenure as team director, the Pakistan’s performance on tours to Australia and New Zealand was disappointing. They suffered defeats in all three Test matches against Australia and faced a 4-1 defeat in the five-match T20I series against New Zealand.

Zaka resigned just before the conclusion of the tour of New Zealand due to a lack of full decision-making authority. Unfortunately, Zaka’s departure has left Hafeez awaiting his overdue salaries and other entitlements.

Sources indicate that the paperwork for Hafeez’s payment has been prepared and awaits approval from the relevant authorities. However, there may be a discrepancy between the PCB and Hafeez regarding the duration of payment. Hafeez began his role on Nov 15, 2023, and concluded his last assignment with the New Zealand tour on Jan 21, 2024.

The transition from Zaka’s tenure to Mohsin’s leadership saw Hafeez being informed on Feb. 6 that his services were no longer required. In response, Hafeez expressed his disappointment via a post on X, stating, “I accepted the new role as team director with great enthusiasm to bring about positive reforms. Unfortunately, my designated tenure, offered by the PCB for 4 years, was cut short by 2 months due to the change in chairmanship.”

Furthermore, the PCB has yet to settle the match fees owed to players who participated in the last National T20 Cup, National U-19, and National U-16 cricket tournaments last year.

Interestingly, payments for participants in the Ramadan Cup, held in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad during the holy month of Ramazan, were promptly cleared by the PCB.

This prioritisation of the Ramadan Cup payments over those owed for the aforementioned tournaments has sparked concern among both regional cricket associations and players, according to sources. Additionally, prize money from domestic tournaments held during Zaka’s tenure also remain outstanding.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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