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Wasim Khan unveiled as PCB’s new managing director

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Wasim Khan, Leicestershire’s chief executive, has been unveiled as the new managing director of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Wasim, who has been one of the leading lights of the ECB’s drive to engage British Asians in English cricket, forged his career as chairman of the schools’ cricket charity, Chance to Shine, before taking over at Grace Road in 2014.

He is understood to have been appointed to the PCB on a three-year contract, starting on February 1. He was sounded out for the role by Ehsan Mani, the former ICC chairman who was himself appointed as PCB chairman earlier this year by the country’s new Prime Minister, the former Pakistan allrounder Imran Khan.

“I am delighted to be offered the position of Managing Director of PCB – a role which I have accepted as a challenge,” said Wasim. “I have my roots in Pakistan, a country which is full of talent. I will be relocating to Pakistan with my family who are as excited as I am.”

Mani added: “We welcome Wasim who will be joining the PCB soon. He was selected unanimously following a robust interview process with some seriously good candidates. I must thank each and every applicant who participated in this process.

“Wasim brings with him fresh ideas and knowledge of cricket, and he will receive the support of the Board and the management of PCB.

“We have started the process of revamping the PCB and under Wasim, we now have an experienced leader of the management team who will oversee the implementation of the Board decisions. His first task would be to oversee the reforms of domestic cricket structure”.

Wasim’s departure is a blow to the ECB and, perhaps, sport in general in England and Wales. He is believed to be the only chief executive of BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) heritage at a professional sports club in the country and has long argued for greater ethnic inclusivity throughout the sport. At a time when English cricket is trying to reach out to Asian communities in particular, his departure leaves the game poorly represented.

For the PCB, on the other hand, the recruitment is something of a coup – especially as Wasim is understood to have been asked to apply for the ECB’s own vacancy, the England team MD role that Andrew Strauss recently relinquished for personal reasons.

The esteem in which Wasim is held in England circles was made clear in April, when he was appointed as chair of the ECB working party that was tasked with restructuring the domestic game for 2019. He remains a strong candidate to return to English cricket one day as the ECB’s chief executive.

Constitutionally, Mani will retain significant executive powers within the PCB’s new hierarchy, but Wasim is expected to take a lead role in the board’s corporate governance framework, working with all the PCB’s board-of-governors committees.

He will have a major say in the execution of approved strategies – in particular the reinvigoration of Pakistan’s domestic cricket, with a proposed move to eight regional sides – and is also expected to oversee the development of the PCB senior management executives to improve the board’s functionality and professionalism. At present it is thought that the board employs somewhere in the region of 900 people, at an annual budget of over Rs. 500million.

The ultimate feather in Wasim’s cap, however, would be to oversee the return of regular international cricket to Pakistan. In recent seasons, the successful staging of the PSL final (and latterly the semi-finals) has begun the process of bringing top-level sport back to the country, while Zimbabwe, West Indies and a World XI have all visited without incident since 2015.

However, Pakistan has not hosted a Test tour since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009, and England have not visited since December 2005. Wasim will hope that his excellent relationship with ECB officials will help change perceptions about the country. In addition, as a long-time supporter of the PCA (the Professional Cricketer’s’ Association; the players’ union in England and Wales) he may also look to introduce a players’ union for Pakistan cricketers that would oversee the fight against corruption and doping.

The role is sure to bring a vastly different set of challenges for Wasim, not least at a cultural level. He himself is British-born, having grown up in Birmingham, but he intends to relocate with his family to Lahore, the city in which his wife’s parents have roots.

In his playing days, Wasim was a member of the Warwickshire squad that won the double in 1995. In addition to his administrative roles within cricket, he has also sat on the Equality & Human Rights Commission Sports Group, The Prince’s Trust Cricket Group, the board of Sport England and was recently named in the Parliamentary Review Muslim 100 Power List.

At present, the day-to-day workings of the PCB are centred on the Chief Operating Officer, Subhan Ahmad, who is among the board’s longest-serving employees, having started his career as a data analyst 20 years ago. He has worked alongside four previous chairman – Ejaz Butt, Zaka Ashraf, Shahrayar Khan and Najam Sethi – prior to Mani’s appointment.

In a further indication of the board’s renewed ambition, Sami-ul-Hasan, the ICC’s highly rated head of communications, has agreed to take on the same role at the PCB.



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Recent Match Report – Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi, Pakistan Super League, 9th Match

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Peshawar Zalmi 153 for 8 (Imam 56, Dawson 43, Raza 2-23, Shinwari 2-36) beat Karachi Kings 109 or 9 (Rizwan 32, Hasan Ali 4-15) by 44 runs

How the game unfolded

Darren Sammy outperformed and outstrategized his opposite number Imad Wasim in key moments on Thursday night in Sharjah to lead Peshawar Zalmi to a comfortable 44-run win over Karachi Kings.

Kings were under heavy pressure at 48 for 4 after being sent in, but Imam-Ul-Haq withstood a procession of wickets to top-score with 56 off 43. He was aided in part by Imad’s decision to not review a crucial lbw appeal midway through his innings. At the time, the pair had added just six. It allowed Imam and Liam Dawson to continue with what became a 76-run fifth-wicket partnership before Sammy ended the innings with a tremendous flourish, scoring an unbeaten 24 off 10 balls.

Hasan Ali sparked Zalmi in the field by replicating his figures from their previous win over Lahore Qalandars. He finished with 4 for 15, including three in an over at the death. But his finest moment was arguably the runout off his own bowling to end Babar Azam’s innings on 1.

Kings were 53 for 4 needing 101 off the last 10 overs then. When Sikandar Raza was bowled by Umair Asif, there was too much to do for Imad and Mohammad Rizwan. Though Imad actually outscored Sammy with 26, it came off a painstaking 27 balls as he and Rizwan went through a 28-ball stretch from the end of the 12th until two balls left in the 17th without a boundary, symbolizing the Kings disciplined bowling on the night.

Turning points

Raza had produced a double-wicket maiden in the 8th and had Imam trapped plumb on 33 with one that straightened from around the wicket in the 10th at 54 for 4, but Imad was unconvinced by Raza’s mild plead for a review. It proved costly.

With Zalmi desperate for a late burst following the end of the Imam-Dawson stand, Sammy responded by bashing 16 off the last five balls sandwiched around the runout of Hasan Ali to get his side past 150.

Hasan struck on the first ball of the chase with a ball seaming in to trap Liam Livingstone. He hen ended the third over with an athletic charge to short midwicket in his follow-through after another lbw shout had been turned down off Babar. However, while Babar was preoccupied waiting for the umpire’s decision, Hasan swooped in to field, then fired a direct hit from 10 yards.

Star of the day

Hasan was irrepressible with the ball and in the field. His opening spell claimed the two openers. The match was over for all intents and purposes when he took the ball for his last over in the 19th – Kings needed 51 off 12 balls – but the three wickets off five balls to end his night, two caught at deep square leg and the other at mid-off, were a just reward for the more impactful work he did earlier.

The big miss

The third umpire pressed the wrong button on a reviewed catch when Wahab Riaz flicked Mohammad Amir to Sikandar Raza on the leg side boundary late in the Zalmi innings. Raza claimed it cleanly but the scoreboard showed “Not Out” initially as Wahab walked off. It quickly reverted to “Pending Decision” before spinning out a red “Out” chyron as Wahab chuckled walking past the ropes.

Where the teams stand

Zalmi broke a five-way deadlock to take sole possession of second place at four points with the win, two behind Quetta Gladiators. Kings remain in the logjam with three others on two points in third place, though officially they are fifth on the net run rate tiebreaker.



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Ricky Skerritt announces challenge to Cameron CWI presidency

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Former West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt has announced his intention to challenge Dave Cameron for the position of CWI president.

Skerritt, who is currently president of the St Vincent & The Grenadines Cricket Association, has previously been a cabinet minister and senator in the national assembly of St Kitts and Nevis and has also served as minister of tourism. He currently sits on the CWI board and has an MSc from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

He will run for election alongside Dr Kishore Shallow, an entrepreneur and director of CWI, who is running for the role of vice-president. Both candidates’ nominations were supported by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board and Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board. It would appear to represent a significant threat to Cameron’s future.

While the pair have produced a 10-point plan that includes cricket-specific issues such as modernising coach education, a new approach to selection, greater emphasis at Under-19 and Under-23 levels and increased funding for the sport at grassroots level, it is clear that a distrust of Cameron lies at the heart of their challenge.

In particular, the pair allege that Cameron plans to install himself as “a full-time executive” president, which demonstrates his “personal thinking” is “diametrically opposed to the values of West Indies cricket”.

“After six years as president, Dave Cameron’s intention to implement sweeping changes to the democratic process of decision-making within West Indies cricket is troubling,” Skerritt said in a statement. “His desire to lead CWI as a full-time executive, is not reflective of the West Indies cricket ethos.

“By advancing his plans for an autocratic leadership structure, which marginalises the role of commercially recruited executives, the incumbent has placed his personal thinking diametrically opposed to the values of West Indies cricket.”

Skerritt and Shallow have confirmed that they will also propose a six-year term limit on the presidency. “I am convinced that a presidential term limit will remove much of the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the cricket politics and excesses that too often surround the office of president,” Shallow said.

Cameron was approached for comment by ESPNcricinfo but declined to comment. The CWI elections take place in Jamaica on March 24. A total of 12 votes, two each for six member territories, are at stake.



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India players unlikely to feature in The Hundred, admits Tom Harrison

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ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has admitted he can provide no guarantees that players from India or West Indies will be available to appear in The Hundred.

Despite claiming “overwhelming support” for the new competition, Harrison also said that scheduling it at the same time as the ECB’s domestic 50-over tournament would not provide players with the same opportunity to prepare for ODI cricket as currently exists.

While there have been more India players involved in English domestic cricket in recent times – Virat Kohli only missed out on a spell with Surrey last year due to injury – it has usually been with a view to gaining experience of conditions. With the BCCI keen to protect the value of the IPL as the premier short-form league and, perhaps, reluctant to support a new format of the game that could, potentially, weaken the T20 brand, it seems unlikely players will be released to take part in The Hundred.

The BCCI also knows that, if it agreed to allow Indian players to take part in one such league, there will be requests from many other nations for involvement in their own tournaments.

“I can’t commit to the involvement of India players,” Harrison said. “It’s a political conversation as much as anything.

“It’s a difficult conversation. It’s not just the ECB and The Hundred that will be keen to get Indian players involved. Clearly that’s a wider discussion.”

The Hundred also looks likely to clash, at least in part, with the CPL and several international fixtures. Indeed, a glance at the Future Tours Programme suggests that every international side has commitments during July and August 2020, when The Hundred is to be launched. West Indies, for example, host New Zealand for ODI and T20 series in July and T20s against South Africa a few weeks later. With a T20 World Cup to follow later in the year, it seems unlikely the best players would want to skip such games.

As a result, there seems every chance The Hundred may feature retired or dropped international players, or some on very short stints.

“The Hundred won’t necessarily clash with the CPL,” Harrison said. “We have ongoing discussions with the CPL and will work together on that. But we do have to make sure the Blast fits in the right way leading into The Hundred and that our Test summer is scheduled correctly.

“I think players will want to play in The Hundred. We’ll demonstrate an ambition behind this that is very pure and can enhance players’ skills under pressure. Hundred-ball cricket will deliver more of those key moments when players have to deliver under serious pressure. We’ll make it attractive to players to come and play.”

The ECB does, at least, now expect some limited involvement in The Hundred from the top England players. But that involvement is likely to be limited to one or two games at the start of the tournament and, perhaps, an appearance in the final.

Harrison also admitted for the first time that the best white-ball players in England would probably no longer appear in 50-over cricket at domestic level, but insisted that “it won’t impact our success at 50-over level at an international level”.

With The Hundred scheduled to be played at the same time as the 50-over competition, the ECB knows that the best 100 or so white-ball players will not be available for the latter. Instead the competition will feature younger players and, with the major grounds in use by The Hundred, be largely played at outgrounds. As a consequence, the standard of the competition is highly likely to decline. The gap between domestic and international 50-over cricket, meanwhile, is likely to grow.

“It is definitely a challenge,” Harrison said. “From 2020 onwards, the 50-over tournament will be played during The Hundred window.

“Counties will want the bulk of the T20 Blast to be played in the heart of summer. The new tournament has to feature in that space, and we have Test cricket, too. We cannot achieve everything and there’s always going to have to be compromise.

“I’m not suggesting it will give players exactly the same opportunity to play as much 50-over cricket – particular for the top-tier players – but I’m confident it won’t impact our success at 50-over level at an international level.”

Meanwhile Harrison said he would be interested to hear the views of Chris Gayle over ways the ECB could make The Hundred a success. Earlier this week, Gayle had suggested that if he was not invited to take part “it won’t be a tournament”.

“We’d love to have Chris involved,” Harrison said. “I’m keen to have a conversation and see what he thinks and to hear his views.

“He’s played in all the major tournaments around the world. His view is very much worth listening to see how we can make this even more exciting.”



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