LAHORE    -   Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has said that he has joined cricket board with an agenda of making it a ‘professional organization’ and 85 percent work on this agenda has been completed.

Talking to the journalists here at PCB headquarters on Thursday, Mani said: “When I took over, I had three targets to make the PCB a professional organization. On my part, I have completed 85 percent work and soon everyone will see, this cricket board will be a role model origination for all.”

He said during his so far nine months in the office, he has tried his best to introduce a new culture of quality management. “I am much contended whatever I have done so far to achieve my set targets for the betterment of PCB and Pakistan cricket,” he added.

The PCB chief said that in the past, the PCB was being run by majority of non-professional people but now he has hired the services of quality professionals to make it a professional organization. “I don’t believe in hiring a lot of people, rather I prefer to work with a few people, who are top notch in their respective departments based of their international standing and experience,” he added.

He said the PCB has forwarded its recommendation in the PCB constitution to its Patron, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination for approval. “In the recommendations, I have tried to de-centralize my powers as PCB chairman. The chief executive officer and professional individuals will head their respective departments and run them in a more professional way.”

Quoting his own example, Mani said: “I am not drawing such perks and privileges home and abroad, which I am entitled to. By doing so, I have not only saved millions of rupees of PCB but also set example for others. PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan is following the same by cutting down his daily allowance to a lower limit while on an official assignment in England at the moment.”

He said through proposed recommendations in the constitution, they want to make domestic cricket strong and cable of producing quality cricket on the pattern of cricket Australia, England and India. “According to revamped structure, domestic cricket will be made tough and competitive. It will help in preparing second and third tiers of the national teams and strengthening the base of the game at grassroots level.”

The PCB chief revealed that six provincial teams will replace the regional and departmental cricket teams in the proposed domestic structure. “We have proposed the representation of six provincial teams in the recommendations made in the PCB constitution which has been sent to its Patron, PM Imran Khan and IPC Ministry for approval.”

He said the proposed domestic cricket structure has been divided into six provincial teams, which include Northern Areas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Central Punjab, Southern Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh. “Each province will have one team while Punjab will be represented by two teams,” he added.

These provinces will organise school, club, inter-city and first class cricket as it is not the domain of PCB to conduct the matches at these levels. “We will be closely monitoring all the cricket and allied activities to assess their performance and role in the development of grassroots level and to supplement PCB ongoing efforts for the cause of cricket,” said Mani.

About the role of departments in revamped domestic structure, the PCB chief said: “The departments will also be serving cricket, not by having their teams but sponsoring the provincial teams, which will be tagged with their respective names in the domestic events. If necessary, their nominees will also be inducted in the setup of the provincial bodies to ensure that their provided fund must be utilized in right direction.

“Every year, these provinces have to provide at least 120 most talented and promising players to the PCB, who may serve the national teams in the best possible manner. Our target is 16 to 19 years old cricketers, who will be trained and groomed by the PCB professionally. The provinces, which will produce maximum number of quality players, will be highly rewarded by the board,” he asserted.

Mani said that the matter to make Pakistan Super League (PSL) a separate entity on the pattern of successful and modern leagues of the world is under consideration. “We want that PSL should work as an independent body under the control of PCB and it should work on modern processional lines to make it a successful venture the way other leagues in the world are functioning independently.

The PCB chief said that hopefully, the entire PSL will take place in Pakistan. “Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium is ever ready for PSL matches as it staged its final and semifinals in the previous editions of the PSL. Karachi has also hosted a good number of PSL-4 matches so it will also be ready to host PSL-5 matches. But this time, we are also considering to conduct PSL-5 matches in Pindi, Faisalabad and Multan.”

Mani said international cricket will return to Pakistan later this year when the country will be hosting the matches of Asian Test Championship against Sri Lanka in September this year and Bangladesh in January/February next year. “The ICC Test Championship is spanned over two years and will end in 2021. We will host Sri Lanka for two Test matches of this inaugural edition of the event in September, then our team will fly to Australia in October/November for two Test matches.”

He revealed that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Australia (CA) will be visiting Pakistan September this year to review security arrangements. “Chief Executive officer, England and Wales Cricket Board will also visit Pakistan later this year to see the security arrangements in Pakistan. They CA and ECB high ups will ascertain the security situation in Pakistan and to assess the possibilities of their respective teams’ visit in due course of time.”

Mani said he has the same old stance on bilateral cricket with India, which should visit Pakistan first to fulfill its bilateral commitment of playing cricket. “We will not beg to India or any other country to play cricket with us. We just want resumption of bilateral cricket ties with India in a decent and dignified manner.”