During his first interaction with the media, after he took over as the new PCB chairman, Najam Sethi was asked about how Pakistan cricket administration is like musical chairs that keeps changing depending on who is in power in the government. And whether it will again change now after elections.
Sethi was frank about it: “No one can say anything about this. We don’t when will the elections be and who will win and lose. But this is correct: our sports ordinance, in which PCB operates, is completely dependent on the patrons. They have the rights and they have exercised it in the past and will do in the future. There is no assurance.
“But performances matter. If it is not good, it gives a chance to say ‘we need change’ and change it. If performances is good, then that question doesn’t stand. As far as my performances in the past goes, it was very good. Lots of things happened in the five years we delivered.”
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Sethi also mentioned how he was told to continue four years back as the PCB chairman but developments forced his hand.
“But when new regime came, I was told from the very highest level – you know who I am hinting at – that you stay put, talks have been had.. You won’t be changed. But then I saw it was not possible. A patron has the right to bring whoever he wants and execute his vision.
I thought Imran Khan saab’s vision will bring in good and I didn’t want to stand in the way. I could have hung, fought as its been happening in the past but felt let’s give them a chance. They were given four years and I don’t want to say anything about them [Rameez Raja’s chairmanship]; you all know how much success and failures occurred. I just want to look ahead now.”
A direct question was asked about Rameez Raja, the former PCB chairman, if he would contest the move and create any hassles.
To the question, ‘do you anticipate any confrontation from Rameez Raja now?”, Sethi replied thus: “I never indulged in any confrontation. I resigned and left. I don’t believe in confrontations.”
He was alsoasked about the situation with India regarding Asia Cup 2023. Answering the question, he stated, “It’s too early for me to say. These issues will be discussed with the internal committee. I don’t know what decisions were taken by the previous regime. I have read a lot of things but it’ll be better if we review the situation and decide what message we want to convey. But when it comes to India, it all depends on the Pakistan government’s decision. The guidance comes from there only.”
He also made his feelings clear about the selection of the Pakistan team for the upcoming New Zealand series, saying,” A cricket team has been announced. I don’t know if it’s reasonable right now to to take any decision on if we should change anything or if we should keep the team as it is. There are two points of view and we’ll discuss it. It’ll be better if there are no more questions on this because we haven’t made any decision on it. If the team wasn’t announced, we would have probably approached it with new ideas but that opportunity is probably not there anymore. But we’ll see.”
A 14-member management committee was nominated by Pakistan prime minister Shahbaz Sharif and Sethi will head it to run the affairs of the board. The cricket board elections are to be held within the next four months.
The Pakistan government, through a notification late on last Wednesday, had removed Raja following the team’s 3-0 whitewash by England in the Test series.