Pakistan cricket overhaul – Ramiz Raja on being replaced as PCB boss by Najam Sethi – It is ‘political interference’


“Politics should not be mixed up in cricket,” Ramiz said on his YouTube channel. “This is a game of cricketers and a playing field for them. Some people come from outside the circle, and to adjust one person [Sethi], they had to change the entire constitution. I have not seen this anywhere in the world.

“There is etiquette to do things and it has been done in the middle of the season when teams are visiting Pakistan. Then you have changed the chief selector [Mohammad Wasim] regardless of him doing good or bad. He has played Test cricket for Pakistan, and you should make them leave with respect.
“And then he [Sethi] tweets late in the night at 2.15am that Ramiz is gone. It hurts because I have played for Pakistan. It has been made out as if a messiah [Sethi] has come, who will take the game to new heights. We know what are the motives behind it. They love the entitlement and want the limelight otherwise they have nothing to do with cricket, and they have never lifted a bat. They have changed the set-up in the middle of the season, they are bringing back Micky Arthur. Saqlain Mushtaq’s tenure was ending anyway in January. Saqlain has played over 50 [49] Tests, he is a legend. This is no way to treat cricketers.”

Ramiz and other PCB board members were replaced by a 14-member management committee, led by former board head Najam Sethi, by Shahbaz Sharif, who recently replaced Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister. The committee has 120 days to change the PCB’s constitution, bringing back the 2014 version, which was replaced in 2019.

The PCB constitution – whether of 2014 or 2019 – gives the patron the right to name two direct nominees in the PCB Board of which one is elected as the chair. With the change of government usually comes a change of chairmanship and board administration, almost immediately. But as the new government – with a coalition of several political parties – worked its way through more pressing matters in the country, Ramiz stayed under the radar and continued in the position. But his exit was inevitable sooner or later.

Ramiz: ‘I would say it’s political interference'”It’s frustrating when you are told to step aside after 12 months when you were given a term of three years,” Ramiz said. “I would say it’s political interference because you want to recruit someone politically. It will not help cricket and it won’t help with the [lack of] continuity. It leads to pressure on the cricket board, the system, the national team and the captain. The constitution has to be robust. It happens only in Pakistan. I will continue to raise the subject on international platforms. It has become a joke.”

Under Sethi, in under a week, the PCB has terminated the contract of chief selector Wasim and disbanded all committees formed under the now-defunct 2019 constitution. This was the first decision the new board took after formally taking charge last Thursday, while also naming Shahid Afridi as interim chief selector for the ongoing New Zealand series. The committee is also expected to bring in foreign coaches in both men’s and women’s teams.
The Test squad picked for the New Zealand series was also reviewed; three players were later added to the original Test squad, while Sarfaraz Ahmed was elevated from the bench to replace Mohammad Rizwan in the playing XI.

The Pakistan government has already revoked the 2019 constitution the PCB was operating under and has given Sethi’s committee full executive powers to revive the constitution of 2014. Apart from the changes in the board and its structure, that constitution will also bring department sides back into domestic cricket – they had been removed in 2019 after Imran became the prime minister [the PM automatically becomes the PCB’s patron].

After his exit from the PCB, Ramiz could go back to broadcasting, and Sethi confirmed that the PCB woouldn’t have any issues with that.

“I have great respect for him [Ramiz] and let me make it clear that he will not be barred from commentary,” Sethi said. “I am aware how much pressure he was under from the top [Imran] about me and that’s not his fault. Ramiz is a free man and if he is selected for commentary, he will not be stopped at any stage.”

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