Traditionally in Pakistan cricket, it is the Prime Minister’s appointment to the PCB board of governors who usually becomes the board chairman for a three-year term, and Ashraf is the overwhelming favourite to be elected, with the election process usually a formality.
While announcing his withdrawal on Twitter, Sethi had said: “I don’t want to be a bone of contention between Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif. Such instability and uncertainty is not good for PCB. Under the circumstances I am not a candidate for Chairmanship of PCB. Good luck to all stakeholders.”
Sethi’s tweet was referencing the political horse-trading over the chairman’s seat. Shehbaz Sharif is the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, and also the PCB patron. Asif Ali Zardari, a former Pakistan president with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is a prominent coalition partner in the current government, and Ashraf is thought to be his party’s man for the post.
Ordinarily, the PCB chairman would be a pick of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) party. But over the last couple of weeks, the PPP has insisted that as they are the ones in charge of Pakistan sports, through the ministry for inter-provincial coordination (IPC), it maintained the right to nominate a candidate of their choosing.
Sethi has been running the PCB on an interim basis since Ramiz Raja was removed as chairman, and the board’s 2019 constitution was scrapped last December. Sethi’s committee was initially given 120 days to bring back the 2014 constitution under which the PCB was run, and also reinstate the regional and department structure in domestic cricket. The committee was also given a mandate to form a board of governors and elect a chairman.
The 2014 constitution also requires the PCB to form a board of governors comprising ten members: four out of the 16 regional representatives, four representatives of services organisations, and two members directly nominated by the PCB patron.
Over the last six months, Sethi’s management committee has also overseen the hiring of a predominantly overseas coaching staff for Pakistan, with former head coach Mickey Arthur appointed part-time director of cricket.