The competition to secure the position of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief has intensified, with Najam Sethi and Zaka Ashraf receiving backing from influential political figures. As the current chair of the PCB’s interim management committee, Sethi has reached out to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for his support. Meanwhile, Ashraf has been in contact with Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari.
A noteworthy aspect of this race is that Ashraf enjoys the full support of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), while Sethi’s allegiance lies with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Both political parties have been actively seeking approval for their respective candidates from the PCB’s patron-in-chief, the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Historically, the nominee supported by the Prime Minister has emerged victorious in PCB elections.
Sethi was appointed as the head of the interim committee in December 2022, with plans for elections to be held in the coming months. However, the execution of this plan has faced delays due to pending elections in several regions. As a result, Sethi’s tenure has been extended until June 20. As the race for the PCB chief gains momentum, reports from The Dawn suggest that the PPP considers it their right to have their representative elected, given that the Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination has been entrusted to their party.
The Dawn quoted a PPP representative stating, “It is strange that the interim committee, which was mandated to hold free and fair elections, is yet to do so, and now Sethi wants to become the new chairman. We will be resisting that move as Zaka is our candidate.”
However, supporters of Sethi have presented compelling arguments in favor of his re-election. PML-N representatives have emphasized that during Sethi’s brief tenure as PCB chief, he successfully facilitated the return of international cricket to Pakistan. Additionally, Sethi demonstrated his vigilance in addressing the hosting controversy surrounding the Asia Cup.
The battle for the position of PCB chief is not only a contest between Sethi and Ashraf but also reflects the political dynamics between the PML-N and PPP. As the political support for both candidates grows, the decision rests with the PCB’s patron-in-chief. Sethi’s track record and Ashraf’s backing by the PPP create an intriguing race, which will shape the future direction of Pakistan cricket administration.