Mohsin Naqvi elected PCB chairman for three years

Pakistan

The PCB has finally held elections and appointed a full-time chairman, with Mohsin Naqvi elected for a three-year term. The PCB announced the appointment on Tuesday without providing any other details, simply saying he had been elected unopposed as the 37th PCB chairman.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled to have been unanimously elected as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board,” Naqvi said. “I am thankful for the trust and confidence reposed in me. I am fully committed to upgrading the standard of the game in the country and bringing professionalism in the administration of cricket in Pakistan.”

Naqvi’s appointment was widely expected after Zaka Ashraf, who served as de facto chairman while officially the head of the interim management committee, quit last month. He also resigned from his position on the PCB’s board of governors, a vacancy which was filled by Naqvi, with Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister Anwar Kakar appointing Punjab’s caretaker chief minister – Naqvi – to the cricket board.

Naqvi will continue to serve as Punjab’s caretaker chief minister alongside his role at the helm of the PCB. This had raised eyebrows last week when the PCB election commissioner, Khawar Shah, briefly took over the chairmanship when Ashraf resigned. But Khawar defended Naqvi holding both roles, saying the PCB rules forbade a chairman from holding an “office of profit” concurrently, and argued – somewhat incongruously – that Naqvi did not.

Naqvi’s term as caretaker chief minister has already extended well beyond its constitutional realm. According to Pakistani law, a caretaker government can serve in that capacity for only three months while preparations for upcoming elections take place. Naqvi, however, was appointed over a year ago, in January 2023, with Pakistan’s elections pushed back by several months. His time as chief minister of Pakistan’s largest province will finally end later this week, when Pakistan go to the polls for general elections on February 8.

While Naqvi does not have any known cricketing experience or a background in cricketing administration, that is not unusual for most PCB chairmen, especially over the past decade. Neither Najam Sethi nor Zaka Ashraf, the two men who held that position for the best part of the last ten years, had such experience before being first appointed, with Ehsan Mani and Ramiz Raja exceptions rather than the rule.

Naqvi’s first major task will be to oversee the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League, which begins on February 17. While much of the logistical work of the tournament, including the draft, decisions on venues and ticket sales, has already happened, the league is arguably the most financially significant event for Pakistan cricket every year.

The other pressing issue for the new chairmen will concern the hosting of the only ICC event Pakistan has been awarded this decade. The 2025 ICC Champions Trophy is scheduled to take place in the country, which requires significant logistical and administrative preparedness, including the construction of appropriate facilities to host as many as eight teams simultaneously. Pakistan have not played host to an event of that size since the 1996 World Cup.

He will also have to find a way to deal with the potential fallout if India, as historical precedence suggests, decide against making the trip to Pakistan. When a similar situation arose ahead of the Asia Cup last year, then-PCB chairman Sethi agreed to a “hybrid” model, which saw a handful of initial games in Pakistan, with the bulk of the later games taking place in Sri Lanka. Several members of the management committee later expressed dissatisfaction with that arrangement, attributing it to the fatigue that caused injuries to a number of players. The PCB has implied they will not agree to such an arrangement this time.

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