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



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

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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CA considers changes to BBL, domestic one-dayers schedules



Next summer’s ninth edition of the Big Bash League may be pushed back to start as late as Boxing Day, while Cricket Australia is also considering a shift of the limited-overs domestic competition away from the early season carnival format it has occupied since 2013.

Amid a season in which players, broadcasters and the Australian public have been forced to make some large adjustments, particularly for the major increase in the length of the BBL from 43 games to a full 59-game home and away schedule, ESPNcricinfo understands the governing body is considering numerous tweaks to the calendar for 2019-20.

Though CA and the broadcasters Seven and Fox Cricket are wholly committed to the full home and away BBL format, there has been discussion of whether to move the starting point of the tournament to later in the summer, packing more games into January before building up to the mid-February finals series that is being tried for the first time in 2018-19.

Such a move would follow common complaints by BBL teams and state associations that the pre-Christmas landscape is a challenging one for attracting supporters relative to the January school holiday period. Previous discussions of BBL matches being scheduled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day led to two matches being scheduled on December 24 this tournament, but the BBL chief Kim McConnie has always made clear that organisers were learning what works and what does not as they go along.

“We don’t [have set expectations]. It’s the first time we’ve ever done it,” she told AAP in December. “The beauty of the Big Bash is it paves the way in many areas. We like the idea of ‘we’re going to try and see and learn along the way’. We don’t have any expectations other than learning on what works and doesn’t work.”

At the same time, CA is considering a move away from the September-October carnival format for the domestic 50-over tournament for the first time in six years. That move, made in 2013 at the start of the previous broadcast deal cut with the Nine and Ten networks, squeezed the premier state-based white-ball competition into a few weeks, in a marked departure from the traditional format that had Sheffield Shield and limited-overs games interspersed evenly across the season.

A shift back to scheduling state matches of either format during the months now occupied by the BBL appears close to impossible, but moving the domestic limited-overs tournament into shared windows with the two halves of the Shield rounds would allow players, coaches and selectors the chance to make assessments of their white-ball skills in a far more expansive way across a season than is currently the case.

After Australia won the World Cup at home in 2015, the decline in the national team’s 50-over fortunes has coincided with the continuation of the tournament format, which was adopted for reasons including its closer resemblance to an ICC event and also the easier task it created for physical management of fast bowlers in particular over the course of a season.

Pat Howard, the former team performance manager, was a noted advocate of the carnival format, which has divided opinion amongst players throughout. This season saw a trade-off between the abandonment of the experimental inclusion of a CA XI for younger players in the tournament with a format that meant that every team would play in the play-off matches, regardless of how many qualifying matches they won.

Howard’s departure, alongside that of the former chief executive James Sutherland, is believed to have helped open up broader discussion about the state competition, even as the tighter tournament structure continues to have numerous vocal advocates within the system. Other factors in decision-making will also include logistical concerns for state teams and the preferences of Fox Cricket for broadcasting the 50-over tournament.

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ICC awards: Kohli wins big three after record-breaking 2018



Virat Kohli had an outstanding 2018, especially as a batsman, and that was reflected in the latest ICC awards, where the India captain won the three biggest prizes: the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for cricketer of the year, the Test player of the year and the ICC men’s ODI player of the year.

Kohli, whose India are No. 1 in the world in the ICC Test rankings and at No. 2 in both ODIs and T20Is, had a fantastic time with the bat in 2018. In 13 Tests, he hit 1322 runs at an average of 55.08 with five centuries, and in 14 ODIs, he had 1202 runs at 133.55, with six centuries.

His performance is that much more praiseworthy as India played most of their cricket in 2018 away from the subcontinent – there were tours of South Africa, England and Australia, apart from the home series against the West Indies. He also ended the year at No. 1 in both the rankings for Tests and ODIs.

“It feels amazing. It’s a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time myself performing,” Kohli told the ICC.

“Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.

“To be rewarded in this manner from among all of them is obviously a very proud moment for me and something that gives you more motivation to keep repeating the same things because you have to keep the standard of cricket up and keep bringing in consistent performances.”

The 36-member voting panel was unanimous in picking Kohli for the Sobers award, with Kagiso Rabada finishing second both for the overall category and the one for Test players. Rashid Khan, meanwhile, was the runner-up for the ODI award.

Other winners
Emerging player of the year: Rishabh Pant
Associate player of the year: Calum MacLeod
T20I innings of the year: Aaron Finch’s 172 against Zimbabwe in Harare in July
Umpire of the year: Kumar Dharmasena
Spirit of cricket award: Kane Williamson
Fans’ moment of the year: India winning the Under-19 World Cup

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‘No result’ in Gabba Big Bash League match to stand



Cricket Australia has knocked back Sydney Thunder’s appeal for maximum points in the Big Bash League match against Brisbane Heat at the Gabba that was declared a no-result following a major power outage.

Thunder lodged a formal protest against the no result handed down last Thursday, a day after being in complete command of the match that was called off because of the power outage.

The Heat had slipped to 2 for 10 in pursuit of the Thunder’s strong tally of 186 when the power outage severely reduced the lighting at the venue, though not eliminating it entirely. The umpires conferred with the two teams before deciding that the game would be called off, despite the Thunder’s offer to bowl out their remaining overs with spinners only.

CA conducted a review into the match and released a statement on Tuesday saying, “It has been determined that the BBL Playing Conditions 2018-19 were correctly applied by the match officials and the correct result awarded. The result of the match will stand, with the Brisbane Heat and Sydney Thunder each being awarded one competition point.”

Kim McConnie, the head of the BBLs, said the situation was not in Cricket Australia’s control and that the match officials had followed the correct process under the circumstances.

“The BBL match on Thursday 17 January was unable to be completed due to an external power issue that was outside the control of Cricket Australia, the Brisbane Heat, and the Gabba,” she said.

“The umpires on the night applied the correct Playing Conditions in determining the conditions at the match to be both dangerous and unreasonable due to insufficient light.

“The safety of players and officials is of paramount importance to Cricket Australia and any Playing Condition relating to the safety of our players is one that is treated very seriously by our match officials. The match officials are ultimately responsible for the safety of our players and officials whilst on the field of play and we entrust them to make decisions with this in mind.”

More to follow…

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