Decision on Wasim’s extension request rests on PM call on Mani’s future

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board has put on hold the request of its chief executive Wasim Khan, who is seeking one-year extension in his tenure, till patron Prime Minister Imran Khan decides about PCB chairman Ehsan Mani’s future whether to extend his three-year tenure ending in September this year.

According to the contract signed with Wasim, the PCB can extend his tenure by one year before the end of his first tenure which ends in February 2022. The PCB had to decide on his extension in February 2021, which it did not.

The PCB Board of Governors which met in Karachi last month had discussed Wasim’s request for a one-year extension but the PCB did not make any announcement in this regard after the meeting.

However, Dawn learnt that though the BoG members somehow indicated giving extension to Wasim, later common sense prevailed as an opinion was developed to first let Mani’s future be decided by the patron.According to sources, common sense says that it will not look appropriate if Mani gives the extension to Wasim while the former himself cannot get extension as PCB chairman after September 2021.

In that likely scenario, the new PCB chairman may not see eye to eye with Wasim. Subsequently, a lot of complications can develop if Wasim is not on the same page with the new PCB chief.

During his last talk with some reporters in Lahore, Mani to a question about his extension gave a diplomatic response.

“I have almost achieved the targets which I set in September 2018 and if I am asked to continue [as PCB chief], I will think about it and will then decide,” he had said. “I will have to see if I can contribute anything further or not as I don’t eye the seat.”

The talk with the media was held on Feb 20, just two days before the start of the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League in Karachi. At that time the chairman looked more confident as the PCB successfully hosted the South African team and also the home won both the Test and T20 series against the Proteas.However, Mani was unaware about the bad news in the store, that eventually came in the shape of postponement of the PSL, the most successful brand of Pakistan cricket.

As a result of poor administration in following the SOPs set by the NCOC to cope with the Covid-19 challenge, the PSL was postponed midway on March 4 as seven Covid-19 cases were reported at the league. The postponement resulted in a massive wave criticism against poor administration of the PSL which put the PCB on the back foot.

Circles within the PCB believe that the prime minister is not likely to ignore the blunder committed by Mani and Wasim in hosting the PSL 6 matches.

Moreover, keeping the domestic cricket structure suspended for the last 18 months and abruptly ending the departmental cricket are the major areas where the PCB received a lot of criticism.

On the field, the Pakistan team also failed to win any series overseas as the experience of giving Misbah-ul-Haq the dual job of chief selector and head coach badly backfired.

The current PCB regime has claimed that hosting the entire fifth PSL (2020 edition) in Pakistan and resuming Test cricket in Pakistan after a decade are some of its major achievements.

However, these do not look big successes, as the past PCB managements headed by Shaharyar Khan and Najam Sethi had restored limited-overs international cricket in Pakistan by hosting Kenya, Zimbabwe, World XI, Sri Lanka and the West Indies before Mani came to the helm of the PCB.

During the era of Sethi, some matches of PSL-3 and 4 were staged in Pakistan.