PM Imran Khan hints at appointing Ramiz Raja as new PCB chief: sources

After meeting with the prime minister, Ehsan Mani left without speaking to the media

August 23, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday hinted at appointing former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), sources told Geo News.

The development came during a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan, PCB sitting Chairman Ehsan Mani and former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja at the PM Office today.

PCB chairman has been informed that he would not be given another term in the office, the well-informed sources said, adding that PM Imran Khan will recommend Ramiz Raja’s name to the PCB's governing board for the coveted post.

After meeting with the prime minister, Ehsan Mani left without speaking to the media, said the sources.

Earlier, PCB sitting Chairman Ehsan Mani and former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja Monday arrived at the PM Office to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Mani's term as PCB chief is ending on August 25. The sources said the prime minister has decided to appoint former cricketer Ramiz Raja, who is likely to be given the task to implement Imran Khan's vision.

According to a report published in The News, a quick look at his three-year tenure in office reveals many ups and downs for the country’s cricket.

Though a few encouraging steps were taken to streamline the system, the general revamping pace has been too slow and casual.

The PCB chairman’s first objective was to get a fresh constitution for the board which he succeeded in having according to his vision of a professional institution. Two years have passed since the PCB has adopted the document, yet fans are still waiting for the complete implementation, starting from the grassroots to the provincial level.

For the first time in the country’s cricket history, there has been no recognised and approved competition at the club level.

The PCB entirely controls the powers from Lahore rather than devolving it to the provinces, cities and to the clubs-which is the watchword of the new constitution.

The management's policy of letting selectors and city association coaches shape city teams for premier competition based on their likes and dislikes, has also been widely criticised. No proper criteria have been placed to judge the current form, fitness, and quality of players who were included in teams to play inter-city competitions.

The PCB has yet to attract sponsors to support provincial associations. Leading departments have already refused to be part of this practice.

Pakistan’s performance has not been consistent. The never-ending trend of snatching defeat from jaws of victory goes unchecked.

Amid all these weaknesses, flaws, and the lack of efforts put in to achieve desired goals, the PCB under Mani has succeeded in bringing international cricket back to the country.

The PCB also successfully met the challenges posed by the Covid-19 by hosting domestic and international cricket, as well as touring various countries to ensure cricket continues to grow and develop.

Ramiz Raja emerges strong candidate for PCB top slot

It is pertinent to mention here that former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has emerged as a strong contender for the PCB chairman post.

The News has learnt that Raja’s name was floated by former cricketer Majid Khan. It was Majid who was the favourite to take over as the PCB chairman three years back. At that time, Majid backed Mani for the job.

Majid, being a close relative of the PM did not accept the proposal of taking the position. This time, Majid has expressed his support for Raja, who has always had good relations with the Khan family.

Even during his cricketing career, Majid had special liking for Raja. It was because of Majid (former president Islamabad cricket) that Ramiz was seen leading the capital team in the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy in the nineties.

Dr Jawad Sajid is also being considered but he may get a chance to serve as a member of the Governing Board. A few weeks back, there was speculation that Secretary Cabinet Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera was also being considered, but that proved to be untrue.

Mani’s tenure as the chairman PCB expires on August 24 and the PCB will have a new chairman by the first week of September. Justice (rtd) Azmat Saeed has already been appointed as Election Commissioner to conduct PCB Chairman elections.

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News