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Leicestershire CEO Wasim Khan frontrunner for PCB MD role

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Wasim Khan has emerged as a strong candidate for the new role of Managing Director of the PCB.

Wasim, currently chief executive at Leicestershire County Cricket Club, was invited to consider the position by PCB chairman, Ehsan Mani. He is understood to have made a very favourable impression during interviews in recent days with a possibility that he could be confirmed in the role by the end of the week.

Wasim had also been asked to apply for the role of Managing Director – England Cricket by the ECB management, but it is understood he has expressed a preference for the Pakistan job.

Although Wasim is British-born – he is believed to have been the first British-born Muslim player of Pakistan origin to play county cricket – he has long held a Pakistan passport. If his appointment is confirmed – and parties are in the final stages of discussing terms – he is expected to move, with his wife and children, to Lahore.

While his current county role is relatively low profile, Wasim has long been seen as a key figure in the future of England cricket. A former player – he was part of the Warwickshire squad that won the double in 1995 – he went on to become CEO of the Cricket Foundation where he played a huge role in the expansion of Chance to Shine. He has also sat on the Equality & Human Rights Commission Sports Group, The Prince’s Trust Cricket Group, the board of Sport England and was recently named in the Parliamentary Review Muslim 100 Power List. In an English system desperate to find a way to connect with its Asian communities, he has long been seen as a future CEO of the ECB.

A Pakistan role will bring a vastly different set of challenges. Among the high-priority items on his to-do list are likely to be a reorganisation of the domestic system, and this will be an especially thorny issue. Imran Khan, former captain and now the country’s prime minister – and by default, the cricket board’s patron – has long been a strong advocate of a domestic structure based on regional sides alone.

That stance is likely to be taken up in some form at board level – Mani is known to believe that a purely regional model might not work in Pakistan, where the population is far bigger than countries such as Australia (whose small domestic Shield structure Imran is a fan of).

Early indications suggest a structure with eight regional teams, either city-based or province-based. That could have implications for the departmental sides – such as HBL, WAPDA, PIA and SSGC – who have, for over 40 years, been the backbone of the domestic circuit. It is these banks and airlines and gas companies that employ cricketers on monthly salaries, and these organisations – and not the regional sides – who have long been at the forefront of the game’s professionalisation.

Repeated moves to remove or sideline them have been strongly resisted by players, and administrators and will face similar obstacles if it happens again, but the idea presently under consideration is to make departments sponsor regional teams and to reduce teams in the domestic circuit by up to 30% in the name of quality. One of the board’s aims will be to make regions financially self sufficient and run without PCB funding. Presently, the PCB spends over PKR 600 million per year on domestic cricket. There are currently 16 teams on the domestic circuit playing in the Quaid e Azam trophy, with eight regional and eight department teams.

Wasim is also expected to work on an exchange or initiative system to help Pakistan players develop their game by representing county and state teams as overseas players. He may also be expected to reduce the headcount at the PCB – some estimates suggest they currently employ in the region of 900 people across the country (albeit, the vast majority of these will be contract-based jobs in stadiums the PCB owns across the country, with a much smaller list of permanent staff employed at headquarters in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore).

Inevitably, he will also be charged with bringing regular international cricket back to Pakistan. While that will not be easy he will hope his excellent relationship with ECB officials will help to that end. As a long-time supporter of the PCA (the Professional Cricketer’s’ Association; the players’ union in England and Wales) he may also look to introduce a players’ union for Pakistan cricketers. Given how often that has been attempted – without success – and the often disputatious nature of players with the board, this will be no mean feat either.

Ultimately, whoever gets the role – and Wasim is a clear favourite at this stage – it seems it may be changed to a CEO position once the PCB Board pass constitutional changes to Mani’s role, which has him currently as chairman and CEO.



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Steven Smith captains grade team to T20 title

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Steven Smith led his grade side Sutherland to the New South Wales Premier T20 title at the SCG on Sunday.

While the Australia Test team was going head-to-head with India in Perth, Smith made scores of 42 and 19 in the semi-finals and final at a venue he has lit up during his international career.

The T20 finals were the first time Smith had captained a team since the controversy in South Africa which saw him stripped of the Australia captaincy. He won’t be eligible to return to that role for a further 12 months after his initial ban finishes, but that does not extend to club cricket.

His next chance to play for Australia at the SCG won’t come until next season as he sees out the remainder of his year-long ban after the Newlands ball-tampering.



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Virat Kohli, Tim Paine collide, exchange words before umpire interrupts

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The fourth day witnessed heated conversations between the two captains, Tim Paine and Virat Kohli, in Perth as Australia were strengthening their grip on the match. During the wicketless first session, the captains even came into physical contact when Paine ran down the pitch for a single in the 71st over of the innings. As Paine nudged the first ball of the over towards midwicket for a run, Kohli ran towards the pitch in anticipation of collecting the ball and collided with Paine before the batsman could reach the non-striker’s end. Even as Kohli collected the ball and made his way towards mid-on for the next delivery, Paine followed him for a couple of steps for a few words before umpire Chris Gaffaney interrupted to remind them they were the captains.

Kohli to Paine: “I’m not saying a word to you, why are you getting riled up?”
Paine to Kohli: “I’m fine. You’re the one that lost it yesterday, why are you trying to be cool today?”
Chris Gaffaney: “Oi, that’s enough, that’s enough.”
Paine: “We’re allowed to talk.”
Gaffaney: “Nah, nah, come on, play the game. You guys are the captains.”
Paine: “We can have a conversation… there’s no swearing, no…”
Gaffaney: “Tim you’re the captain.”
Paine: “Keep your cool, Virat!”

When Paine was walking off after being dismissed for 37 eight overs later, Kohli said a few more words that made the Australia captain turn around for a reply.

Kohli and Paine had earlier been recorded exchanging words after a caught-behind appeal against Australia’s captain was turned down on the third evening. Walking past Paine, Kohli had remarked to his team-mates “If he messes it up, it’s 2-0”, moving Paine to retort “You’ve got to bat first, big head”.



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Evin Lewis returns for WI as Bangladesh opt to bat

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Toss Bangladesh opt to bat v West Indies

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan chose to bat first against West Indies in the first T20I in Sylhet.

From their last T20I, also against West Indies in August this year, Bangladesh have made two changes. They have replaced Rubel Hossain and Nazmul Islam with Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mohammad Saifuddin.

West Indies have included Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell and Sheldon Cottrell to their XI, as they go without Denesh Ramdin, the injured Kieron Powell and left-arm spinner Khary Pierre.

Bangladesh: 1 Liton Das, 2 Tamim Iqbal, 3 Soumya Sarkar, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Ariful Haque, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 10 Abu Hider, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

West Indies: 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Shai Hope, 3 Shimron Hetmyer, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Carlos Brathwaite (capt), 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Keemo Paul, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas



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