By Muhammad Babar

Recent change in the Pakistan Cricket Board developed hopes that the board would now transform into a house of good governance and merit. For that the new chairman of the PCB Ehsan Mani will have to take some very harsh but necessary decisions which is the need of time to streamline the system of the country’s richest and most popular sport. 

For the two decades or so PCB has become an employment hub for the affluent and opportunists rather than being the guardian of the game. Every chairman of board since 1996 accommodated their dear and near ones in the board. It not only overcrowded the institute but they had now become a burden for the board which needs to be curbed instantly.

In the past PCB had an administrators like late Air Marshal Nur Khan who not only strengthened the cricket structure but also transformed the national team into well-disciplined unit. Under his great leadership and with a staff of few people at the then Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) headquarter at the Gaddafi Stadium, dedication and commitment was visible that earned Pakistan several victories and paved the way for the organisation of the 1996 World Cup.

Former chairmen Khalid Mahmood and Lt Gen R Tauqir Zia on their part introduced corporate culture and introduced new departments in the board that inundated the PCB corridors with a flood of employees. Till 2000 the number of PCB employees could be counted easily on finger tips but now according to Chairman Ehsan Mani this number has crossed 900. It is largest in the world particularly for a board that is not hosting regular international cricket at its backyard since March 2009 attack on Sri Lanka team at Liberty roundabout.

Like PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills, the PCB too has become a centre where nepotism and favouritism are at its ascent. The chairmen of the likes of Zaka Ashraf and Shaharyar Khan are allegedly believed to have hired their favourites without adopting proper procedure. Most recently Najam Sethi appointed favourites and politically-manoeuvred fleet of employees. These recruited white elephants are being awarded salaries in millions. 

As for Mani it is assumed that he has a soft corner for PCB COO Subhan Ahmad, who was transferred to Lahore from Karachi as punishment but the then CEO extended him full support and his rubber stamp like nature acted as a ladder for him to the top. As he has also worked closely with Mani during his tenure as ICC chairman, Subhan may stay in the PCB for eternity. One hopes keeping every kind of relation aside, Mani would take decisions on merit. 

Former test cricketers Majid Khan, Saleem Altaf and Ramiz Raja were the only famed cricket figures who had worked at the key post of CEO. But how come low ranked rankers could play their part in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. Only a person with great diplomatic authority, with great cricketing sense and a personality to convince the cricket world can address this issue.

Financial matters of the board are one of the grey areas which needs to be addressed on a priority basis. Transparency in financial matters is the need of hour. Being a financial expert Mani should bring his experience into action particularly for the audit of the board and especially the Pakistan Super League alike.

Mani assumed office with a pledge to run the board on professional lines but so far his actions has not spoken, it would be unfair to expect rapid changes but followers of the game want revolutionary steps from Mani, who is believed as an administrator of great repute. 

Domestic cricket structure is also one of the area needs professional approach. The aged members of domestic cricket department must be replaced with fresh blood like Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousaf. A strong domestic structure would give Pakistan cricket a steady future because a streamlined board and streamlined set up will automatically bring quality in every affair. 

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