LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has claimed Pakistan missed out on the opportunity to have a major say in the affairs of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after Zaka Ashraf took over as chief from him for a brief period.
“The ‘Big Three’ offered us to join in and form the ‘Big Four’. It is quite unfortunate that the talks I started with them were not pursued further by the Pakistan Cricket Board when I wasn’t around,” Sethi said at Lahore Airport before leaving for Dubai for an ICC meeting. In February this year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif removed Zaka Ashraf as chairman of the board, appointing an 11-member committee, headed by former interim PCB chief Sethi, to run the affairs of the PCB.
Islamabad Cricket Association president Shakil Shaikh, who is also one of the members, said Ashraf was removed because of "mishandling Pakistan's case in the recent changes brought in the ICC." Pakistan abstained from the voting in the ICC Board meeting in February in which the three biggest cricketing nations — India, Australia and England — got a majority of the powers in the sport's governing body, securing 9 votes from the 10 full members.
Sethi said Pakistan was now left with nothing. “Now, no one is willing to give us anything, particularly India. And it was India that had made us that offer. Until and unless we play with India, we won’t make any money. If we don’t make any money our domestic system will suffer. Everyone is toeing India’s line because playing with India makes you money.”
On February 8, ICC board had passed a wide-ranging and controversial shake-up of its governance and structure, effectively placing India, England and Australia in charge of the game. The dominant trio, or the ‘Big Three’, seemed to be the big winners after the proposals were approved by the necessary eight out of 10 full members at a hastily convened ICC board meeting in Singapore. In the revamped ICC, India – which contributes 80% of global revenues – and fellow powerhouses England and Australia have permanent seats on a new, five-member executive committee.
Speaking to the media today, Sethi said that all international tours till 2020 were decided with various countries except with India. He added that for the promotion of cricket in Pakistan and for better relations between India and Pakistan, it was necessary for bilateral series to take place between the two countries.
Referring to the resignation of cricketer M Hafeez as the Twenty20 captain after Pakistan’s recent defeat in the WorldTwenty20, Sethi said that Hafeez had set a good example. Taking the blame of Pakistan’s below par performance in World Twenty20, Hafeez had announced to step down as skipper in shortest format of the game. He had also relinquished the post of vice-captain in ODIs and Tests. Pakistan had faced withering criticism after their appalling show in the mega event, underway in Bangladesh, where the team failed to make it to the semi-finals for the first time in the history of World Twenty20.
Sethi also said that he will overview domestic cricket for the next four months after which a new captain as well as coaching staff will be selected, adding that the selections will be made on merit.