Ramiz sacked and Sethi reappointed chair of Pakistan cricket
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Ramiz Raja has been removed as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board by the government and Najam Sethi reappointed.
Sethi heads a new 14-member management committee including former Pakistan captains Shahid Afridi and Sana Mir. The government has given them 120 days to restore department teams in the domestic setup and form a new board of governors.
The government also repealed the PCB constitution and restored it to the 2014 position, aiming to bring back department teams. The current constitution, formed in 2019, did not recognize department teams.
“The cricket regime headed by Ramiz Raja is no more,” Sethi tweeted late Wednesday. “The 2014 PCB constitution stands restored. The Management Committee will work tirelessly to revive first class cricket. Thousands of cricketers will be employed again. The famine in cricket will come to an end.”
The move followed the Pakistan test team’s first 3-0 whitewash at home on Tuesday, inflicted by England.
New Zealand arrived on Thursday for two tests and three one-day internationals, starting with the first test on Monday in Karachi.
Sethi said the home squad for the New Zealand series was announced by the previous board and they won’t change it. “I wish the team is not announced and we could have approached from a different angle, but now it’s not the right time,” he said.
Sethi served as chairman from 2013-18. During his tenure, international teams gradually returned to Pakistan after the Sri Lanka bus was attacked in 2009. Sethi also started the Pakistan Super League which attracted foreign cricketers.
He was replaced by Ehsan Mani after cricket great Imran Khan became the country’s prime minister. Mani abolished department teams and squeezed domestic cricket into six provincial teams at the behest of Khan.
However, prominent players and former board members urged the government to bring back department teams.
Mani didn’t accept an extension after his three-year tenure ended last year and Khan brought in Ramiz as the new chairman. Ramiz continued as the head despite Khan’s government ending this year and Shahbaz Sharif becoming prime minister.
It is a normal practice in Pakistan that the prime minister, who is also the PCB patron, appoint the head of the board though direct nominations.
“My primary duty is to restore the spirit of the 2014 constitution,” Sethi said at PCB headquarters in Lahore on Thursday.
“The most important thing for us is to change the domestic cricket structure . . . bring back departments and all the regions as there’s been a famine for the last four years.
“Tell me how many cricketers have come through domestic cricket? It looks like only PSL is supplying players. PSL is a very big international brand, and we will take the domestic cricket to that level, too, so that we can get good players from it.”
During Ramiz’s tenure, Pakistan reached the T20 World Cup final this year and the semifinals last year, and qualified for the final of the T20 Asia Cup.
However, Pakistan didn’t fare well in test matches at home. Flat, grassless pitches were the focal point and Pakistan lost an unprecedented four home tests in a row in series losses to Australia and England this year.
The pitches prepared for both series were severely criticized and rated unworthy by the International Cricket Council.
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