Pakistan cricket board chief Raja sacked after England drubbing; PCB’s constitution 2014 restored - GulfToday

Pakistan cricket board chief Raja sacked after England drubbing; PCB’s constitution 2014 restored

Matthew Hayden

Ramiz Raja speaks during an event at the PCB Headquarters in Lahore. File

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja has been sacked just days after the national team suffered a humiliating Test series defeat at the hands of England, according to a government notice seen by AFP on Thursday.

The government also repealed the PCB constitution and restored it to the 2014 position, aiming to bring back department teams. The current constitution, formed in 2019, did not recognise department teams.

Appointments to run the sport in the cricket-mad country are highly politicised, and responsibility lies with the prime minister and cabinet.

England wrapped up the third Test on Tuesday to hand Pakistan their first-ever 3-0 home series whitewash. But a change had been on the cards since April, when Imran Khan — a former national captain — was ousted as prime minister and replaced by Shahbaz Sharif.

Raja, a member of Imran Khan's 1992 World Cup-winning side, was appointed chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in September last year.

A government notice seen by AFP said Shahbaz Sharif's cabinet had dismissed Raja, and the PCB would now be run by a 14-member committee headed by Najam Sethi, who has twice served as chairman. The committee also includes Shahid Afridi and Sana Mir, former captains of the men's and women's teams. The committee will have 120 days to change the constitution and elect a new chairman.

"The cricket regime headed by Ramiz Raja @iramizraja is no more," Sethi tweeted on Thursday. "The 2014 PCB constitution stands restored. The Management Committee will work tirelessly to revive first class cricket."

In another tweet, Sethi said "thousands of cricketers will be employed again." "The famine in cricket will come to an end," he said.

“My primary duty is to restore the spirit of the 2014 constitution,” Sethi said at PCB headquarters in Lahore on Thursday.

"The most important thing for us is to change the domestic cricket structure . . . bring back departments and all the regions as there’s been a famine for the last four years.

"Tell me how many cricketers have come through domestic cricket? It looks like only PSL is supplying players. PSL is a very big international brand, and we will take the domestic cricket to that level, too, so that we can get good players from it.”

Imran Khan came under fire for changing the PCB's constitution in 2019 — in particular for abolishing the role of government departments and private entities in first-class cricket, leaving hundreds unemployed.

Raja was not immediately available to comment, but sources said it was likely he would contest his removal through the courts.

The shake-up comes as New Zealand arrived on Thursday for a tour that will include two Tests and three one-day internationals.

Agence France-Presse / AP

Related articles