Pakistan Cricket Board is all set to be headed by former captain Ramiz Raja as he contests the chairman’s election on September 13 and in all probability, will be elected unopposed by the Board of Governors.
Amongst the 34 PCB chairmen from 1948 till date, only three international cricketers have been at the helm of cricket affairs, namely Abdul Hafeez Kardar (1972-1977), Javed Burki (1994-1995) and Ijaz Butt (2008-2011). The 59-year-old Ramiz Raja is the most experienced amongst his predecessors, according to a study conducted by APP.
During his cricketing career from 1984 to 1997 – a period when Pakistan cricket was at its peak – Ramiz played 255 international matches across the globe and scored 8,674 runs.
After retiring, Ramiz’s knowledge and understanding of the game helped him become a regular commentator with leading cricket broadcasters, presenting all formats of the game alongside the some of the most respected cricket voices such as Mike Holding, late Tony Greig, Ian Chappell, Sunil Gavaskar, David Gower, Mark Taylor, Michael Atherton, Richard Hadlee and Shaun Pollock.
Ramiz’s intelligence, wisdom and vision impressed the prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club, as they included him in their MCC World Cricket Committee. At Lord’s, he joined cricket legends like Mike Gatting (Chairman), Alastair Cook, Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara and Shane Warne to not only discuss, but also provide suggestions and solutions on how to make the sport more viable, attractive and competitive.
With the microphone at his disposal and in the company of some of the greatest names in cricket, Ramiz promoted and built the profile of Pakistan and its cricket team. He was prominent in defending the nation following the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus in March 2009 and after the breaking of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.
While the two events hurt the country’s reputation, Ramiz’s presence on the most powerful and influential platforms helped control the damage.
After years of struggle to clear its name and earn back the respect of the cricket fraternity, Pakistan was finally able to welcome back international cricket completely in 2019.
But even before Ramiz turned to commentary as a full-time career, he was involved in building and strengthening cricket structures in Pakistan.
In the 1990s, when Ramiz still a professional cricketer, he was integral in the setting up the Allied Bank Sports Division, which laid the foundation for great cricket and hockey teams. In the late 1990s, he was a member of the national selection committee, and the team entered the final of the 1999 World Cup in England.
During his role as a cricket administrator between 1999 and 2004, he played a lead role in setting up the state-of-the-art National High Performance Centre, which has now become a finishing school for the future cricket stars.
Ramiz was the PCB Chief Executive in 2004 when India made their first full-tour of Pakistan for three Tests and five ODIs after 15 years. The series and the two sides won the Laureus Sport for Good Award in that year.
Ramiz will take the job the PCB chairman after clearly understanding the demands and rigours of the role, and the expectations of the fans. He has already set the ball rolling by meeting key people within the PCB, including the national team players, to acquire complete knowledge and understanding of the business.
This will enable the former opener to be on top of every matter when he formally assumes charge and officially makes decisions to take Pakistan cricket forward.
Ramiz brings himself tons of experience and knowledge of how the game is played and how the off-field matters are handled, which in return promises a bright future for Pakistan cricket. (EDITED BY ABDUL MAJID)
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