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- Friday, May 10, 2013 - From Print Edition

Just two days before the May 11 general elections, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf got himself ‘elected’ as the board’s chief for a four-year term starting Wednesday. Shrouded in secrecy, the election for the PCB chairman was held hastily in Islamabad without proper involvement of all stakeholders. That is why it was hardly surprising when Ashraf – touted by his supporters as the ‘first elected chairman’ of the cricket board – faced stiff resistance just hours after his election, with presidents of two regional associations challenging it in the Lahore High Court. A day later, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif also announced that he would file a petition in the Sindh High Court against what he termed as the ‘unlawful election’ of the PCB chairman.

Ashraf has already been serving as the PCB boss since 2011 when President Asif Ali Zardari – the PCB’s patron-in-chief – named him as former PCB chairman Ijaz Butt’s successor. At the time of his appointment, Ashraf was a cricketing nobody and it was common knowledge that the prime reason behind his selection was his close association with the president. Having spent around 20 months as the most influential man in Pakistan cricket, Ashraf apparently wants to prolong his stint by becoming a ‘democratically elected’ chairman rather than a ‘nominated’ one. He hardly deserves this position after having been tried, and then having failed to take any concrete steps to put cricket in Pakistan on the right track. Small achievements like a brief tour of India were overshadowed by disappointments like the proposed home series against Bangladesh that never materialised or the Pakistan Super League (PSL) that crashed without even taking off. Cricket is one of the few remaining things in Pakistan that still give people of this violence-hit country something to look forward to. What Pakistan cricket needs and deserves is sincere and competent leadership. For this, it is important that free and fair elections are held to elect top office-bearers – especially for the position of the PCB chairman. Otherwise there is little hope for the future of Pakistan cricket.

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