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Wasim Khan unveiled as PCB’s new managing director | Cricket

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Leicestershire chief executive Wasim Khan © PA Photos


Wasim Khan, Leicestershire’s chief executive, has been unveiled as the new managing director of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Wasim, who has been one of the leading lights of the ECB’s drive to engage British Asians in English cricket, forged his career as chairman of the schools’ cricket charity, Chance to Shine, before taking over at Grace Road in 2014.

He is understood to have been appointed to the PCB on a three-year contract, starting on February 1. He was sounded out for the role by Ehsan Mani, the former ICC chairman who was himself appointed as PCB chairman earlier this year by the country’s new Prime Minister, the former Pakistan allrounder Imran Khan.

“I am delighted to be offered the position of Managing Director of PCB – a role which I have accepted as a challenge,” said Wasim. “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.”

Mani added: “We welcome Wasim who will be joining the PCB soon. He was selected unanimously following a robust interview process with some seriously good candidates. I must thank each and every applicant who participated in this process.

“Wasim brings with him fresh ideas and knowledge of cricket, and he will receive the support of the Board and the management of PCB.

“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’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. At a time when English cricket is trying to reach out to Asian communities in particular, his departure leaves the game poorly represented.

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. In addition, 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 that would oversee the fight against corruption and doping.

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.

In his playing days, Wasim was a member of the Warwickshire squad that won the double in 1995. In addition to his administrative roles within cricket, 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.

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.

In a further indication of the board’s renewed ambition, Sami-ul-Hasan, the ICC’s highly rated head of communications, has agreed to take on the same role at the PCB.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent, George Dobell is senior correspondent


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‘As long as he is alive, Hope will play tomorrow’ – Brathwaite

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When the best player on tour is injured, the captain and the team management tend to get nervous. Perhaps many captains would think, or even say in private, that they would do anything to ensure that he or she plays the next game. Carlos Brathwaite, West Indies’ T20I captain, said this about Shai Hope, whose back-to-back unbeaten centuries have been the visitors’ only batting beacon in Bangladesh in the past week.

Hope felt dizzy after receiving a blow to the head during Friday’s third ODI in Sylhet, but he trained with the squad on Sunday, ahead of the first T20I.

“Shai [Hope] is in beautiful batting form, fresh off two back-to-back unbeaten centuries,” Brathwaite said. “Even if Shai has to play with a stretcher, I will volunteer to carry the stretcher between the wickets. He is fine and in good spirits. He is out practicing, so hopefully he is close to 100 per cent. As long as he is alive, he will play tomorrow.”

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Brathwaite’s side will further be boosted by the return of Evin Lewis, who missed the India tour and the Bangladesh ODIs. “He is one of the better batsmen in the world. For the last 18 months or so, he has three T20I hundreds and also centuries in regional and franchise cricket all over the world.

“He is a definite plus for any team. It is a positive to have in our side. Hopefully he will deliver some big performances which will help us win the game and the series,” said Brathwaite.

But of course, injuries and unavailability have been a major bother for the West Indies. Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Jason Holder are injured, while Chris Gayle has been busy with league commitments.

“We have had some informal chats about it. We can’t do much as players if we continue to lose. We don’t have much power or say. The group of players needs to find a way to win, regardless of who is and who is not selected. When we start to win, we can pull on experiences on learning how to win games.

“Evidently you become more experienced and confident, and start creating your own brand of cricket. We haven’t been able to, because of a lot of chopping and changing for different reasons. The feeling in the dressing room is that whenever a team is picked for a tour, we put our heads together as a unit, and find a way to win games. Once we do that, West Indies cricket will find a way to the top, whichever format,” he said.

Brathwaite believes West Indies’ favourite format can get them the much-needed win in this tour, which would also be a bounce back from their wretched year in T20Is. They have won just two out of 12 games in 2018.

“The people back home deserve a Christmas gift,” he said. “We hope to close out the year with a win. We still think T20 is our premier format.

“We obviously haven’t had the results to be in the recent past proud of. But here’s a chance to turn things around and ending 2018 in a good way.”



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Williamson’s fluency allowed me to keep going – Latham

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The tempo at which his team-mates – particularly Kane Williamson – built their own innings, helped Tom Latham get through some tough spells, and assisted in his getting to a seventh Test hundred.

Latham went to stumps on 121 off 256 balls – his strike rate a respectable 47 for the day – but had been much slower at the start of his knock. He had been 16 off 86 balls at one stage, and also went through another period – when he was on 50 – in which he did not score a run for 17 balls.

Williamson, meanwhile, made 91 off 93 balls. To the pair’s 162-run second wicket stand, Latham’s contribution was only 67.

“At the start of my innings, I wasn’t playing that quickly, but the way Jeet Raval played and the way Kane came and played – that took the game to the opposition and kept the scoreboard ticking over,” Latham said. “It was good for me. I could just keep going. The most important thing we talk about was making those partnerships big ones, and I managed to get a good one with Kane.

Williamson had signaled his aggressive intentions early, hitting three fours off the first three deliveries he faced. Two of those strokes were especially memorable back-foot punches either side of point, off the bowling of Lahiru Kumara. He would go on to hit 10 fours in his innings, and had little trouble finding gaps in the outfield in between the boundaries.

“Kane came out and hit the ball fantastically well – I guess he’s a world-class player and is hitting the ball unbelievably well in all conditions,” Latham said. “You look at some of the shots he plays – from ball one – those early boundaries set the tempo for his innings and he kept doing that. He’s a fantastic player and one to get a few more tips off. When guys are going like that it’s almost easier to give them the strike and let them do their thing.”

For Latham, this was his first trip to triple figures since January 2017, and breaks a relatively lean spell that goes back at least six innings. In the three Tests in the UAE, Latham mustered only one 50, and averaged 16.5 across the three Tests. Which is why, he said, it was important to start slowly and build from there.

“The slow start was about trying to get them to bowl to me as much as possible. Coming from the UAE where the conditions were a lot different, it was important for me to try and wait to score when the ball was a lot straighter, or when it was shorter or fuller.

“I didn’t have the results I wanted in the UAE, but I felt like I was hitting the ball alright. The biggest thing was the trust in my own game, and the trust that I can do it at this level. It’s been a while since I made a big score, but it was nice that I managed to do that straightaway.”



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Repeat finger blow spells trouble for Aaron Finch

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Aaron Finch was taken for x-rays on a possible fractured right index finger on day three of the second Test in Perth. Finch was struck a painful blow in the 13th over of the innings by Mohammed Shami in more or less the same spot where he had twice been struck by Mitchell Starc in net sessions earlier in the summer.

The finger troubles for Finch had begun when Starc hit him on the bottom hand during training for the first ODI of the season, also in Perth against South Africa last month, and the same spot was hit by the same bowler in Australia’s main training session before the first Test in Adelaide, whereupon Finch muttered the words “same finger” before seeking treatment from the team doctor Richard Saw.

After struggling in both innings of the Adelaide Test, Finch scrapped his way to a half-century alongside Marcus Harris on day one of the Perth Test, and having reached 25 not out in the second innings was quickly wringing his right hand after the blow from Shami.

In obvious pain, Finch received extensive treatment on the field before it was decided that he must retire hurt to seek further information on the seriousness of the blow. The umpires then called for tea about a minute earlier than scheduled, and Finch did not resume in the evening session.

It’s not the first time Shami has inconvenienced an Australian batsman this series, having also struck Tim Paine on the right index finger in the second innings in Adelaide and duly creating a wave of concerns given the captain’s long history of troubles with the digit.

More to follow…



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