By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee chairman Zaka Ashraf has resigned from his post.
According to sources he took the decision after he was restricted by the IPC Ministry from using authority and taking major decisions.
This development came after a tumultuous nine-month tenure marred by controversy, internal clashes, and disappointing on-field results.
After replacing Najam Sethi in July 2023, Ashraf initially brought a sense of stability to the PCB. He oversaw the conclusion of major tournaments like the Asia Cup and ODI World Cup, albeit without reaching the desired outcomes. However, cracks began to appear soon after.
The announcement came amidst a bulk of rifts and tiff. However, Ashraf expressed his commitment to the betterment of cricket but cited challenges that made it untenable for him to continue in the role. “I was working for the betterment of cricket, but it is not possible for us to work in this way,” he stated during the committee meeting. He went on to say, “Now it is up to Prime Minister [Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar], whomever he nominates [will take my place].”
Pakistan’s dismal performance under Ashraf’s leadership, culminating in consecutive series losses against Australia and New Zealand, intensified calls for change. The team’s struggles were compounded by the axing of former captain Babar Azam and subsequent leadership shake-up, with Shan Masood and Shaheen Afridi taking over in different formats.
While some attributed the team’s woes to cricketing reasons, whispers of internal rifts within the PCB also emerged. Reports surfaced of a strained relationship between Ashraf and the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), further hindering his ability to function effectively.
Adding to the turmoil, a legal hurdle cropped up when Ashraf’s eligibility for the Chairman position was questioned due to the absence of a mandatory BA degree. This fueled speculation about his potential disqualification, adding another layer of uncertainty to the PCB’s future.
Amidst escalating internal friction and dwindling public confidence, Ashraf ultimately decided to step down. Citing his inability to function under existing restrictions, he tendered his resignation and relinquished his BoG membership, effectively removing himself from the PCB chairmanship race.
With Ashraf’s departure, the PCB finds itself at a crossroads. The task of appointing a new Chairman, ensuring smooth functioning of the organization, and reviving the ailing national team’s fortunes remain immediate challenges. Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar now faces the crucial task of choosing a competent successor who can navigate the turbulent waters of Pakistani cricket.
Meanwhile PCB said Mr Zaka Ashraf chaired the fourth meeting of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Management Committee (MC) on Friday at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Among the ten members of the committee, one member, Mr Khurram Karim Somroo joined the meeting online.
The remaining nine members – Mr Kalim Ullah Khan, Mr Ashfaq Akhtar, Mr Muhammad Mussadiq Islam, Mr Azmat Pervez, Mr Zaheer Abbas, Mr Khawaja Nadeem, Mr Mustafa Ramday, ASC, Mr Zulfiqar Malik and Mr Zaka Ashraf (chair) – were present in person.
Members were briefed on PCB affairs and financial matters. The CFO presented periodic Management Accounts and financial projections for the remaining current fiscal year.
Chairman MC Mr Zaka Ashraf provided a summary of the milestones achieved during the tenure of the current MC which was constituted in the first week of July. These include:
• There is a significant increase in PCB contributions from the ICC
• BCCI delegation visited Pakistan for first time since 2008
• Pakistan won the Emerging Asia Cup (Pakistan Shaheens) and away Test series against Sri Lanka
• Pakistan regained the No.1 ODI spot in ICC rankings
• Pakistan hosted Asia Cup after 15 years
• Up to 80 women’s domestic contracts offered for the first time
• Pakistan women won the T20I series against South Africa 3-0 for the first time
• Pakistan women’s team won T20I series against New Zealand for the first time
• Media Rights and Live-streaming Rights for HBL Pakistan Super League 9 & 10 were tendered and yielded the highest offers ever
• Service Level Agreement signed with DineticQ, subsidiary of Loughborough University for integration of science, artificial intelligence, and bio mechanics in Pakistan’s cricket ecosystem
• MoU executed with Middlesex County Cricket Club (MCCC) for collaboration on multiple projects for cricket development
• Understanding reached with Cricket Australia for player development, strategic alliance between HBL PSL-BBL, Curator training programs, and reciprocal tours for Men and Women junior cricket
He thanked members of the MC, the PCB management, and staff for their support during this tenure. Members of the MC and the PCB management expressed their gratitude to the Chairman MC for his leadership.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Zaka Ashraf announced that he had decided to tender his resignation as chairman and member of the MC to the honourable Patron Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Zaka Ashraf, thanked the honourable Patron PCB for the confidence and trust reposed by him and extended his best wishes and prayers for the betterment of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket.