After the notification from the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee, former ambassador Shaharyar Khan has emerged as the frontrunner to lead the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The 80-year-old will be playing his second innings at the helm of cricket in the country after serving in the same capacity between December 2003 and October 2006. The PCB patron, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, chose him as one of his nominees in the Board of Governors, and after Najam Sethi’s decision not to contest the elections for the PCB chief’s post, Mr Khan is very likely to get elected unanimously.
The word from the board is that Mr Khan’s tenure in the Management Committee gives him an advantage as a candidate, and his ascent to the top will ensure continuity of the policies that were implemented by it. The former ambassador has in the past played an important role in improving Indo-Pakistan relations on the cricket field in his previous tenure as the PCB chief. With the Indian board having promised to play Pakistan in at least six bilateral series over the next eight years, Mr Khan has apparently been handpicked to help ensure that this agreement materialises. During his first tenure, India toured Pakistan for a full-fledged series after a 15-year gap and by the time his run ended, the two teams had played three bilateral series. He would also need to keep a close eye on matters pertaining to the International Cricket Council, especially since India has gained an almost complete stranglehold on the body.
It would be pertinent to recall that Mr Khan bore the brunt of criticism during the infamous 2006 Oval Test, which was forfeited by Pakistan after they were effectively accused by the umpires of ball-tampering. Many felt that he lacked control over the players and failed to persuade captain Inzamamul Haq to resume the match in the stipulated time. One can only hope that this time around, Mr Khan would be up to the task in dealing with tricky situations, which are never far from occurring when it comes to Pakistan cricket.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.
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