“Constitution of a management committee to manage the affairs of PCB with full executive powers with the aim of effecting the restoration of Departmental Cricket Structure and other allied matters, including the nomination of a Board of Governors and election of chairman, as stipulated in the 2014 constitution, within a timeframe of 120 days,” the notification said. “The management committee of PCB shall comprise of the Chairman/Chief Executive & required members.”
The notification has to be sent to the Law and Justice division to be legally vetted, before being put in front of the cabinet for approval. That is expected to be a mere formality. It is not clear at the moment what implications – if any – this has on the senior executive in the board, though ESPNcricinfo believes there will be a cull. The 2014 constitution did not have scope for a CEO, for instance, with the chairman doubling up in that role. At the moment, the CEO is Faisal Hasnain and the COO – for whom there is a role – Salman Naseer.
Though Ramiz’s expected departure will be the headline consequence, the main order of business for the new committee is the repeal of the current board constitution to reinstate the 2014 version. In fact, the summary sent by the IPC to the prime minister’s office is not specifically about a board change. Its main concern is the constitutional revamp whereby department teams can return to domestic cricket. It is in this roundabout way that the current administration led by Ramiz is being removed – because the 2019 constitution does not recognise departmental cricket, the old constitution that does is being brought back and an interim management committee will be tasked to carry that out.
Getting rid of departments was insisted upon by Imran Khan, when he was Prime Minister, who had for long wanted Pakistan’s domestic scene to replicate that of Australia’s – a provincial model, with six teams made up of Pakistan’s provinces playing in all tournaments. But with Imran’s exit in April 2022, a group of former board members has begun urging the government to go back to the previous domestic structure in which departmental teams such as WAPDA, SNGPL and PIA were part of the first-class circuit – a number of those members, unsurprisingly, make up the proposed interim management committee. Imran’s orders to abolish departmental cricket, the notification read, had been revoked by Sharif, who succeeded him as premier.
The PCB had been criticised for abolishing departmental cricket, as it rendered hundreds of cricketers jobless at a stroke. It is worth noting that a number of department sides had shut down their sporting operations even before Imran’s change and, in the current economic climate, there might not be much appetite for such organisations to hire a squad of cricketers.
For Ramiz, whose position has been under constant speculation since Imran’s ouster as Prime Minister, the change will bring to an end a short but eventful tenure. It was Imran who had brought in Ramiz in September 2021 on the premise that a former cricketer was best placed to handle cricket matters in the country. But time had been running out for him since the day Imran and his government was ousted in April in divisive circumstances after a vote of no-confidence in the country’s parliament. The impact of that change is still playing itself out across the political spectrum of the country but, unusually at the time, the impact on the PCB was negligible. Usually, with a change of government, a change of the chairmanship and board administration is inevitable and immediate. But as the new government, with a vast coalition of several political parties, worked its way through the most pressing priorities in the country – not least a spiralling economic crisis – Ramiz stayed under the radar and continued in the position.
However, momentum against him built after Pakistan’s 0-3 loss to England at home – a run that now includes the Test side losing four Tests in a row at home for the first time in the country’s history and not having won any of the six home Tests played in 2022. Over the last few days, Sethi as well as other senior members in the proposed management committee had begun making a play among political circles in Islamabad.
Ramiz has taken on a more hands-on role with cricketing matters during his stint but as a result has been associated more closely with the team’s results than, for example, his predecessor Ehsan Mani. He will no doubt point to achievements in overseeing the completion of two of the highest-profile visits to Pakistan in over a decade – by Australia and England – and being in charge when Pakistan made the semi-final and final of consecutive men’s T20 World Cups and the final of the Asia Cup.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent