LAHORE           -       Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani claims that under the National High Performance Centre revamp programme, the PCB is keen to take Pakistan cricket to the next level and bring it at par with the best international standards. 

Former Test all-rounder Mudassar Nazar recently criticised the PCB for what he claimed ignoring merit in the appointments of new panel of coaches, particularly of the six provincial cricket associations. On this, Mani said: “The PCB has continued to invest in players and coaches development as part of National High Performance Centre revamp.  “We have engaged Saqlain Mushtaq (head of international player development) and Grant Bradburn (head of coach development) to take the programme to the next level and bring it at par with the best international standards. This is part of the PCB’s strategy to build its own capacity and capability, and put a stop on its over-reliance on foreign experts. 

“Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Zahid and Atiq-uz-Zaman’s appointments reflect our vision and if you take into consideration that he High Performance Centre and Domestic cricket were now in sync and aligned, and operating under one umbrella, you will understand the philosophy, vision and strategy,” he added.  The PCB has recommended tough sanctions for corrupts in cricket in its drive to assist the government around legislation on criminalizing corruption in sports. “The PCB has reviewed the existing legislation enacted within Pakistan and has noted that the same fail to adequately target and address corruption/illegal manipulation in sports,” said the PCB chairman. 

“In the draft paper, the PCB has proposed severe sanctions pertaining to corruption, illegal manipulation, betting, match and spot-fixing as well as aiding and abetting such conduct and has proposed penalties to be imposed on individuals found guilty of engaging in such offences,” he added.

Mani further said: “Too many meaningless matches and events were being organized, which was costing the PCB a fortune without benefitting Pakistan cricket. Also, contrary to the constitution, the Regions were not generating their own funds and had become completely dependent financially on the PCB without any tangible results.

“We introduced a high-quality and competitive 2019-20 season in which the best of the best players featured and as a result, some of the top performers broke into the recent Pakistan sides, most prominent being Haider Ali.”

To ensure our best domestic cricketers continue to be looked after and are well paid, the PCB offered decent player contracts in the 2019-20 season, which have further been improved for the 2020-21 season,” he added.

On the resumption of club cricket, Mani said the interim committees of the six Cricket Associations will be put in place shortly, which will also be responsible for club registrations under the new operating rules. He, however, clarified just under 50 clubs events have been held worldwide in the past 18 months (minus the time when cricket activities were suspended due to Covid-19), which took permission from the board to hold these.