Dr Nasim Ashraf takes over as new PCB chairman: Pakistan cricket in turmoil as Shahryar Khan resigns
By Muhammad Ali
LAHORE: Shahryar Mohammad Khan, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, put Pakistan cricket in turmoil by resigning from his post on Friday. Shahryar, who was appointed cricket board chief in December 2003, was under fire in the national media following Oval Test fiasco in August. His resignation came just one day after batsman Younis Khan refused to captain Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy starting in India on Saturday (today). Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf, who is also patron of the board, has appointed Dr Nasim Ashraf, a member of the ad hoc committee, as ninth chief of the PCB.
Shahryar was very upset after the England tour and particularly due to divisions among the players. His tenure was to end in December 2006, but he deemed it appropriate to step down three months before and pass the responsibility on to someone else. Shahryar told media yesterday that the Younis episode, which followed the Oval Test controversy in England, had contributed to his decision. “These two incidents were very upsetting for me and spoiled an otherwise productive period for me. My tenure was until December 2006 so I decided to go now. Since the World Cup is just five months away I wanted to give time to the new chairman to adjust before the tournament,” Shahryar added.
Shahryar, a former diplomat, was named PCB chairman when Tauqir Zia resigned after four years in the job. Shahryar also served as Pakistan team’s manager during the 2003 World Cup but after the tournament he was relieved of his responsibilities by Tauqir. Shahryar, a former Foreign Secretary, took over the reins of the PCB after a rocky period which saw the PCB incur large financial losses following a bomb explosion in Karachi. It led to New Zealand cutting short a tour, and Test series against Australia and the West Indies were played at neutral venues.
Under Shahryar’s tenure, Pakistan gradually regained their place as one of the game’s leading sides, with the memories of Tauqir’s nepotistic administration put on the backburner. Shahryar pulled off a major coup in June 2004 when Bob Woolmer was appointed as coach, and in partnership with the captain Inzamamul Haq, set about forging a squad that – at least until this week’s events – were among the favourites for the World Cup next March. Now following Younis’s refusal to lead the side in India and Shahryar’s own departure, a cloud has descended once again over Pakistan cricket. It remains to be seen whether Woolmer, who came close to quitting when the ball-tampering row erupted at The Oval, will be able to continue in an atmosphere that seems to be degenerating by the day.