Najam Sethi elected to powerful ICC executive committee

* Pakistan board hopes for Aamir’s early return to domestic cricket

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) added another feather in its cap when its chairman Najam Sethi was elected to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) executive committee on Friday. A spokesman for the PCB told media yesterday that the PCB and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) were the fourth and fifth members of the committee, on which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) hold permanent positions. The powerful executive committee was created as part of the raft of changes ushered in by the boards of India, England and Australia earlier this year, described by its architects as ‘the sole recommendation committee on all financial (including ICC distributions and costs), constitutional, personnel (other than event personnel), anti-corruption, ethics, integrity, development and director nominations matters.’
“Our representation on the executive committee will ensure that Pakistan remains involved in the important decision-making concerning the game of cricket,” Sethi said in a statement. “It also reflects that Pakistan now holds an important and undisputed position within the top echelon of the cricketing fraternity. The progress on ICC amendments in ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code is also very encouraging,” Sethi added.
PCB hopes for Aamir’s early return: Meanwhile, the PCB official said he hoped banned paceman Mohammad Aamir would return to domestic cricket before the end of his five-year ban for spot-fixing. Aamir, now 22, was issued with the worldwide ban on playing cricket after he pleaded guilty to orchestrating deliberate no-balls in the 2010 Lord’s Test against England in return for money. In February 2011 he was banned from the sport for a minimum of five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC), together with then-Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and pace partner Mohammad Asif. The trio were jailed in the UK in November 2011, along with their agent Mazhar Majeed. Aamir was ordered to serve six months in a rehabilitation centre but was released after three months.
Aamir is due to complete his ban in September 2015, but the PCB hopes its effort to get him back early will pay off. PCB chairman Sethi last year requested the ICC to relax some of the conditions of Aamer’s ban to allow him to take part in domestic matches. That prompted the ICC to form a committee to look into the matter as it agreed to review its anti-corruption code which carries a minimum five-year ban for offenders.
Tribunal chief QC Michael Beloff termed the punishment excessive when announcing Aamir’s ban in 2011. The PCB said the work on ICC code ha progressed well enough to raise hopes for Aamir’s return. “The work on the drafting of the new ICC anti-corruption code has substantially progressed, with a draft clause inserted into the code permitting a banned player to be involved in domestic matches prior to the end of his ban period,” the spokesman said. “The anti-corruption code will now be placed before the ICC board for approval soon after which the PCB will be in a position to make an application for Aamir,” the spokesman added.
At the time he was banned, Aamir was described as the ‘hottest property’ in international cricket by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan. He became the youngest player ever to take 50 Test wickets and guided Pakistan to a 1-1 series draw against Australia when the two teams played in England in June 2010. “The progress on ICC amendments to ICC’s anti-corruption code is very encouraging and is yet another step closer to the early entry of Aamir in cricket,” the PCB official said. 

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