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December 7, 2018

British-born Wasim Khan to take over as PCB’s managing director

Sports

December 7, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chiefs on Thursday appointed Wasim Khan – a British-born county cricketer-cum-administrator – as the managing director of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Rated highly in England because of his success as an administrator over the years, Wasim is now set to play a pivotal role in plans to revamp the PCB, an organisation that has been sinking under its own weight.

“PCB is pleased to announce that it has appointed Wasim Khan MBE as its Managing Director,” the Board announced in a detailed media release.Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, has welcomed the appointment.

“We have started the process of revamping the PCB and under Wasim, we now have an experienced leader of the management team who will oversee the implementation of the Board decisions. His first task would be to oversee the reforms of domestic cricket structure”.

Wasim, 47, sounded upbeat for the challenge.“I am delighted to be offered the position of Managing Director of PCB – a role which I have accepted as a challenge,” he commented.

“I have my roots in Pakistan, a country which is full of talent. I will be relocating to Pakistan with my family who are as excited as I am,” added wasim who was serving as Leicestershire’s chief executive.According to sources, Wasim has been appointment for a three-year tenure which would begin on February 1 next year.

Wasim, an MBA from Warwick Business School, is a former professional cricketer with a wealth of experience in cricket and cricket management.He played county cricket in England from 1995 to 2001, during which he represented Warwickshire, Sussex and Derbyshire. He also has playing experience in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In a 58-match first-class career, Wasim scored 2,835 runs with five centuries and 17 half-centuries, with a highest score of 181.

Wasim was awarded MBE in 2013 and two years later, he was appointed as the Chief Executive of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club. In 2005, he was recruited by Lord Mervyn King, former Governor of the Bank of England, to lead a £50million community development project that operated in 11,000 state schools and engaged 2.5 million children across England and Wales.

Wasim is on the board of Sport England, which oversees strategy and policy setting of 55 National Sports Governing Boards. He has also served on the Equality and Human Rights Commission Sports Group, and The Prince’s Trust Cricket Group, while he has been on the ECB’s Anti- Corruption and Integrity Unit for the last seven years. He was also recently given the responsibility by ECB of Chairing a working group that assessed and made recommendations on the domestic structure from 2020.

Wasim’s autobiography Brim Full of Passion was voted as the Wisden Book of the Year 2006.His appointment was finalised after a comprehensive two-phase selection process, which saw over 350 candidates expressing their interest following an advertisement for this position.

However, Wasim was always a front-runner once he was sounded out for the role by Mani, soon after he took over as PCB chairman in September this year.Wasim’s departure is a blow to the ECB and, perhaps, sport in general in England and Wales. He is believed to be the only chief executive of BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) heritage at a professional sports club in the country and has long argued for greater ethnic inclusivity throughout the sport.

For the PCB, on the other hand, the recruitment is something of a coup - especially as Wasim is understood to have been asked to apply for the ECB’s own vacancy, the England team MD role that Andrew Strauss recently relinquished for personal reasons.

The esteem in which Wasim is held in England circles was made clear in April, when he was appointed as chair of the ECB working party that was tasked with restructuring the domestic game for 2019. He remains a strong candidate to return to English cricket one day as the ECB’s chief executive.

Constitutionally, Mani will retain significant executive powers within the PCB’s new hierarchy, but Wasim is expected to take a lead role in the board’s corporate governance framework, working with all the PCB’s board-of-governors committees.

He will have a major say in the execution of approved strategies - in particular the reinvigoration of Pakistan’s domestic cricket, with a proposed move to eight regional sides - and is also expected to oversee the development of the PCB senior management executives to improve the board’s functionality and professionalism. At present it is thought that the board employs somewhere in the region of 900 people, at an annual budget of over Rs. 500million.

The ultimate feather in Wasim’s cap, however, would be to oversee the return of regular international cricket to Pakistan. In recent seasons, the successful staging of the PSL final (and latterly the semi-finals) has begun the process of bringing top-level sport back to the country, while Zimbabwe, West Indies and a World XI have all visited without incident since 2015.

However, Pakistan has not hosted a Test tour since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009, and England have not visited since December 2005. Wasim will hope that his excellent relationship with ECB officials will help change perceptions about the country.

The role is sure to bring a vastly different set of challenges for Wasim, not least at a cultural level. He himself is British-born, having grown up in Birmingham, but he intends to relocate with his family to Lahore, the city in which his wife’s parents have roots.

At present, the day-to-day workings of the PCB are centred on the Chief Operating Officer, Subhan Ahmad, who is among the board’s longest-serving employees, having started his career as a data analyst 20 years ago. He has worked alongside four previous chairman - Ejaz Butt, Zaka Ashraf, Shahrayar Khan and Najam Sethi - prior to Mani’s appointment. —with inputs from agencies

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