New PCB chief Zaka Ashraf meets former Test cricketers

Chaudhary Zaka Ashraf has replaced Ijaz Butt as the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board

Lahore: Oct 12, 2011

The newly-appointed chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Chaudhary Zaka Ashraf, on Wednesday held talks with some former Test cricketers ahead of assuming his duty later this week.

President Asif Ali Zardari, chief patron of the PCB, yesterday appointed Ashraf to the prestigious post replacing Ijaz Butt, who completed his three year tenure as Chairman last week.

“He apparently spoke to former Test batsman Basit Ali and some other players including former Pakistan spinner Masood Anwar in his first attempt to get a feel of new responsibility given to him by the President Asif Zardari,” one of the sources told PTI.

Basit was among the cricketers who did not share a cordial relationship with former Chairman and was dropped from the national selection committee last year.

Ashraf, who heads a state owned bank (ZBTL), is close a friend of the President and it is learnt that the former gave his consent for the top job only after being forced by Zardari, the source revealed.

Ashraf is also a senior member of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) executive committee and is considered to be a very successful administrator.

“Ashraf, besides heading the ZTBL, is a prominent businessman primarily in the sugar and wheat industry and was initially reluctant to accept the PCB Chairman post,” the source said. With the board getting a new Chairman there are also indications that former Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi, might take back his retirement decision.

The flamboyant cricketer announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in May after being removed from the ODI captaincy.

Afridi had criticised the board and its officials and had claimed he could not play under the current set-up.

The all-rounder, however, in recent times has maintained that he is keen to play for Pakistan and will make an announcement on his retirement at the right time.

“The right time appears to have come for Afridi, who had little chance of playing for Pakistan until Butt was Chairman because of the deep differences between them over several issues,” the source said.

He informed that there are bright chances of Afridi, who was in consultation with relatives and friends, taking back his decision in next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, there are also indications that former Test captain, Zaheer Abbas, who was also in contention for chairman’s position might be appointed as chief operating officer of the board, a source informed.

“Zaheer has been in Islamabad for the last few days lobbying to become board Chairman and interior minister, Rehman Malik is one of his strongest supporters. After Zaka Ashraf’s appointment, Zaheer has been told to be prepared to work as COO in the board,” he said.

Interestingly another former great, Javed Miandad is already working as director-general cricket in the PCB. (PTI)