LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Chaudhary Muhammad Zaka Ashraf said Thursday that he would not resign from the post and expressed the determination to complete his four years tenure as the board’s chief. “My utmost effort will be to take measures for the betterment of Pakistan cricket by taking all stakeholders into confidence on all important cricket matters,” Ashraf told media at Gadaffi Stadium here before assuming his duties as the chairman as per verdict of the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
A division bench of the IHC on Wednesday reinstated Ashraf as PCB chairman, following a long complicated legal process. The two-member bench, consisting of Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan and Justice Noorul Haq Qureshi, announced its judgment on an appeal filed by Ashraf against his dismissal last July. Ashraf was suspended from the post in May last year by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the same court after it was ruled that he was elected via a ‘dubious’ and ‘polluted’ process. After Ashraf’s dismissal, the government appointed veteran journalist Najam Aziz Sethi as acting chairman but the same bench later also stopped him from exercising his full powers and ordered him to hold fresh elections.
Zaka sounded confident when he was asked about his future plans after his restoration as the PCB chairman. “There are a lot of challenges Pakistan cricket is facing today and my top most priority will be to work collectively for the betterment of our cricket,” he maintained. “I know our cricket is going through a difficult phase and as the chairman I am under a heavy load of responsibility to take on all the challenges in a decent manner and resolve all cricket related problem,” he stated.
Ashraf said cricket was the passion of the entire nation and it served as an effective medium to forge unity and brotherhood among the people of Pakistan. He expressed his resolve to work for the development of cricket without taking into consideration any political affiliation.
“It is my desire to brief the patron in chief of the PCB, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, on cricket related affairs and to seek his guidance on our team’s participation in the Asia Cup in the back drop of security issues in the host country Bangladesh,” said he.
To a question, he said Misbahul Haq was fit enough but the World Cup in 2015 was far away and the inclusion of any player including the captain would be made based on his fitness and form. “In my opinion Muhammad Hafeez is duly justifying in his role as T20 captain. He said PCB’s cricket committee would look into the matter of hiring a new coach for Pakistan team as Dav Whatmore would be completing his stint with the team next month.
Ashraf said he did not seek the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) support on his suspension and removal as PCB chief because for him Pakistan’s respect was far supreme than anything. He said he would resume his efforts for the revival of cricket ties with India as good progress was being made during his tenure on the resumption of cricket ties between the two neighboring countries. The PCB chief said he would work on resolving issues between the regional cricket associations for ensuring the smooth working of the regional bodies and to take them in mainstream for the development of cricket.
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