Saturday, February 4, 2023

PCB responds to former Chairman Ramiz Raja

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  • Also clarifies comparison of expenses, confirming there is absolutely no impropriety
  • Urdu version of the media release is attached

The Pakistan Cricket Board has expressed its disappointment over the comments made and language used by former Chairman Mr Ramiz Raja against Chairman of the PCB Management Committee Mr Najam Sethi on a social media platform and in a TV interview.

The PCB believes former Chairman Mr Raja’s comments are aimed at tarnishing and damaging the impeccable reputation of present Chairman Mr Sethi, adding it reserves it’s rights to pursue legal proceedings to protect and defend the image and credibility of its Chairman and the institution.

To put the record straight, the facts are as follows:

– The PCB Patron, on the popular demand of cricket fans, administrators as well as former and current cricketers, exercised his constitutional right by restoring the PCB Constitution 2014 to safeguard the livelihoods, wellbeing and careers of professional cricketers as it recognised the role of departmental cricket, which was not the case in the PCB Constitution 2019 promulgated by the PTI government

– PCB Chief Operating Officer Mr Salman Naseer has already rebutted Mr Raja’s allegations that he was not allowed to collect his belongings by confirming these were picked up personally by him and will be returned to Mr Raja today (Wednesday) as a part of the usual handing and taking over process. Mr Raja was never stopped from entering the Gaddafi Stadium premises and will be welcome to visit any time in future

– Mr Sethi, who was elected as the PCB’s 34th Chairman in August 2017 for a three-year term, had voluntarily resigned with two years remaining in his tenure after his nominating authority had lost the 2018 general elections in July. This clearly indicates his approach and positive attitude

– Similar to Mr Sethi’s appointment as Chairman of the PCB Management Committee, Mr Raja had also been elected as the PCB Chairman on the eve of the 2021-22 domestic season on 13 September 2021 and two days after the New Zealand cricket team had arrived in Islamabad on their first tour in 18 years

–  It is common knowledge that 10 days after Mr Raja was nominated on the Board of Governors on 27 August 2022 by the then Patron, former captains and Pakistan stalwarts Mishab-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis were on 6 September 2021 made to “step down” as head and fast bowling coaches, respectively. Just over a month later and 16 days before the first match in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 against India, three changes were made in the squad. Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain were replaced by Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali, respectively, while Fakhar Zaman replaced Khushdil Shah in the 15-player squad. Later, Shoaib Malik replaced an injured Sohaib Maqsood in the side

–  The PCB Management Committee, in its first meeting on 23 December 2022, had approved the dissolution of all Committees, including the National Selection Committees, pursuant to the repeal of the PCB Constitution 2019 under which they had been constituted. Consequently, on 24 December 2022, the Men’s National Selection Committee, following four successive Test loses at home this year was replaced by an interim selection panel under former captain Mr Shahid Afridi

Former Chairman Mr Raja’s comparison about his and the current Chairman Mr Sethi’s expenses during his previous term is misleading and inaccurate as the circumstances are incomparable. These are elaborated as follows:

  1.                     i. HBL Pakistan Super League 2016 to 2018 were held offshore, implying many visits to the UAE to organise the marquee tournament However, no PSL allowances have ever been paid to current Chairman Mr Sethi and this information has been merely presented as a potential payable. In contrast, PSL 2022 was held under former Chairman Mr Raja and was staged only in Karachi and Lahore
  2.                    ii.  Foreign tour expenses are high for current Chairman Mr Sethi as during his previous tenure, PSL and Pakistan’s home international matches was played outside Pakistan. Therefore, the current Chairman was required to make frequent visits to the UAE for PSL and bilateral series and for related meetings. All travel expenses were approved by the appropriate authorities and were duly audited (internally and externally)
  3.                  iii. Car allowance was paid to current Chairman Mr Sethi as per the Board of Governor’s approval as he had used his personal armoured vehicle due to security threats. On the contrary, the PCB provided former Chairman Mr Raja a brand new armoured vehicle costing PKR16.5million
  4.                  iv. Security expense of current Chairman Mr Sethi was high owing to additional security that needed to be provided to him as he was a former Chief Minister of the Punjab province and the Intelligence Bureau and Special Branch Punjab had issued advised of threats to him
  5.                    v. It is pertinent to remember current Chairman Mr Sethi had sent a legal notice to the PCB regarding the table of expenses as soon as these were made public through the PCB corporate website

–  The above five points clearly establish there were absolutely no improprieties in current Chairman Mr Sethi’s expenses during his previous tenure

– Current Chairman Mr Sethi is one of the most distinguished, respected and renowned personalities of the country who has not only won three international press freedom awards but is also a recipient of Hilal-e-Imtiaz. He has launched three media houses, served in the federal cabinet and was appointed as an all-parties consensus Interim Chief Minister of the Punjab province in 2013. He has twice headed the PCB, while he also launched and headed the Pakistan Super League from 2016-2018. These not only confirm his international popularity, standing and credibility, also reflects his credentials as a skilled, qualified and experienced administrator

–  Australia, England and New Zealand cricket teams’ in 2022 were part of the Future Tours Programme, which current Chairman Mr Sethi had finalised during his previous tenure. It may not be out of context to mention here that the current Chairman Mr Sethi had also invited Zimbabwe, World XI and the West Indies to play in Pakistan between 2013 and 2018 as part of his vision and strategy to revive international cricket in Pakistan

– Complete list of current Chairman Mr Sethi’s achievements during his previous tenure will be shared in due course

The PCB expects following the above explanations, former Chairman Mr Raja will refrain from leveling unsubstantiated and baseless allegations against current Chairman Mr Sethi, which can potentially damage the cricket brand, the organisation as well as its figurehead.

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