LAHORE   -   Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wednesday found itself in yet another controversy when majority of its Board of Governors (BoG) members took a rebellion route to upstage PCB chief Ehsan Mani’s ambitious plans to revamp cricketing structure in the country.

The 53rd meeting of the PCB Board of Governors, the first-ever in Quetta, was adjourned for a later date due to an incomplete quorum after five of the seven present members staged a walkout. The rebellion within the ranks of the PCB may lead to the appointment of an ad-hoc body on the Board very soon.

The meeting also failed to give approval to the audit report of the PCB and expenditures for the budget 2018. The PCB is supposed to present the same to the International Cricket Council (ICC) this week for receiving its share of $5.5million and this may lead to further delay in receiving the funds.

As soon as the meeting began, the five members - Shah Dost (Quetta), Kabir Ahmed Khan (Fata), Muhamad Numan Butt (Sialkot), Shahrez Abdullah Khan (Lahore) and Muhammad Ayaz Butt (KRL) - tabled a resolution having a six-point agenda. The resolution declared the appointment of Wasim Khan as managing director as null and void and barred the PCB from bringing changes in the domestic cricket structure.

Planned rebellion

According to sources, these members also confronted PCB chief Ehsan Mani a night before during a dinner hosted by the Balochistan Chief Minister and both parties left the place without having dinner after some heated exchanges and threatening each other of dire consequences.

The rebellion was very much on the cards as the PCB braced for some major   overhaul within the organistaion and remodelling of the Authority Matrix 2014.

The sources said former powerful BoG member and Islamabad region’s head Shakil Sheikh had planned this rebellion while chairing a meeting of these current BoG members in Lahore earlier this week, in an attempt to save some PCB officials from the possibel axe and keeping a monopoly over the domestic cricket.

The sources said the axe was about to fall on some powerful officials of the Board including its COO Subhan Ahmed, Haroon Rasheed, Ali Zia and others. This powerful group has been enjoying the authority since long in the board and always remained in the organisation in one way or another and has time and again been dubbed ‘Mafia’ by many ex-cricketers.

This ‘mafia’ was also influential in sidelining Zakir Khan from the PCB in Najam Sethi’s era despite the fact that he had played a key role in opening the doors of international cricket’s return to Pakistan by pursuing Zimbabwe team to play at Lahore. Zakir is very close to Prime Minister Imran Khan and is also considered as de-facto PCB chairman.


Bone of contention

Moreover, the PCB had sent a letter to the BoG members before its 53rd meeting suggesting some striking changes in the Authority Matrix and proposing delegation of BoG powers to newly-appointed MD and PCB chief and some thought the move would turn the BoG into just a dummy.

The PCB was looking forward to approve the new Authority Matrix from this meeting as this also had been made part of the agenda. The PCB is also working out a structure for domestic cricket on the orders of Prime Minister Imran Khan who happens to be the PCB’s Patron-in-Chief, to have an Australia-like model which will see only six provincial teams at the first-class level. With the domestic cricket to be made purely regional, the departments are asked to wrap up their teams.


Six-point resolution

Wasim, who joined the PCB earlier this year, is the key figure behind the restructuring and to stop the PCB from bringing an overhaul in the cricketing structure of the country they tried to bar the way of Wasim through the resolution.

“Appointment of managing director along with the creation of the unconstitutional post of MD PCB is hereby declared null and void,” read a copy of the resolution, which they wanted to be adopted during today’s board meeting.

According to the resolution, any move to abolish departments or regions in the process of restructuring domestic cricket was also rejected and termed as unacceptable. As per the resolution, the members of the BoG called for a Domestic Cricket Restructuring Committee (DCRC) within the next ten days. They added that it should consist of four members representing all four regions with a departmental representation and called for it to be presented during the next meeting of the BoG scheduled to be held on April 30.

The resolution further said the “constitution of PCB shall be amended in the light of recommendations/proposals of the DCRC.” “The BoG shall defer all the agenda items as circulated for 53rd meeting of BoG till a special BoG meeting is held and the recommendations/proposals of the DCRC are approved and ratified,” it added.

However, after Mani’s refusal to adopt any other thing other than set agenda of the meeting, the five members traded some harsh arguments with Mani and later staged a walkout. The PCB chief asked the ex-officio member, Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Secretary Akbar Durrani, to talk to the five members. When approached, they all refused to rejoin the meeting.


“Completely unreasonable”

Speaking to the media in Quetta, Mani said that the recommendations of the BoG members were “completely unreasonable”.

He said that their recommendations had previously been approved but today they had changed their position. “We will look at what they want,” the PCB chief said, adding: “There are no two ways about this, we need to fix Pakistan cricket.”

According to PCB’s press release, PCB chairman Mani had proposed any business other than the agenda could be considered under “Any Other Items” at the end of the meeting. However, the Khan Research Laboratory (KRL) and the four regional representatives refused to return to complete the meeting, the press release added.

“I am hugely disappointed by today’s events as I was looking forward to an interactive, productive and constructive discussion, which was aimed at taking Pakistan cricket forward,” Mani said.

“Yesterday, we called on the honourable Chief Minister of Balochistan and engaged in fruitful and enlightening discussions to promote cricket in Balochistan. It is, therefore, particularly disappointing that the representative from Balochistan also refused to return for the BoG meeting. We reaffirm our commitment to doing what is right for Pakistan cricket and once again becoming a strong force in the world game, and must not get derailed by personal agendas,” he added.


MD post against PCB’s constitution

Nauman Butt, a member of the BoG, told reporters that they had reviewed the constitution of the cricket board and found that there was no place for a managing director. Butt said the board members had not taken part in any boycott; instead they had passed the resolution and presented it during the meeting.

Butt claimed that the BoG was not consulted before the appointment of MD Waseem Khan. Butt was also critical of the salary package offered to the MD. Wasim is being paid PKR 2,000,000 as salary. He has also been offered a car worth PKR 3,700,000 along with other amenities without our approval,” he said.

Sialkot RCA president was also disappointed with PCB Chairman’s media talk on this matter. “We were disappointed with Ehsan Mani’s press talk as he gave out false statements,” Butt added. “We didn’t boycott the meeting and we are happy that the Prime Minister has taken notice of today’s meeting.”


Wasim Akram defends new MD

Wasim Khan- a former professional cricketer - is at the centre of a brewing storm over his appointment at MD of PCB. While those in favour of the appointment argue that he is the right man to uplift cricket in the country, others have said that the appointment is illegal.

Former captain and legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram has come out in defence of PCB Managing Director Wasim, while expressing disappointment over the fiasco and said “Wasim Khan must be given one chance.”

 “Disappointed over what happened in PCB BoG meeting today,” said Akram. “All teams are preparing for Cricket World Cup 2019 and we’re busy in other arguments. Let’s see what reaction Prime Minister Imran Khan gives,” he added.