KARACHI: Najam Sethi’s unopposed election as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been generally well-received in country’s cricketing circles, with several former cricketers and regional administrators optimistic that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) mastermind would keep on working for the betterment of the sport.
The 68-year-old, who takes over from former supremo Shahryar Khan after all 10 Board of Governor (BoG) members voted for him, is viewed by many as the best man to take Pakistan cricket forward, thanks to his role in turning the PSL from a pipedream to reality.
As expected, his ascension to the top cricketing office in Pakistan, has been met with approval, with Karachi Club Cricket Association President Ejaz Ahmed Farooqi telling The Express Tribune: “Sethi has been a very active member in the PCB. He has played his part in every major decision [made by the board] and most of his suggestions have turned out to be successful.”
Farooqi further said: “His biggest success is the PSL, where he led from the front and has made the league possible twice already. Of course, the BoG and other committees will handle the affairs of domestic cricket, but the final approval will be given by him so we are expecting his decisions will again benefit the teams, the players and Pakistan cricket.”
Former captain Rashid Latif also praised Sethi for his strict adherence to meritocracy. “Merit has been a top priority of his, which is why he has held two successful editions of the PSL,” said the former wicketkeeper. “Future developments are also expected on merit, which will improve the standard of cricket in the country.
Former chief selector Sallahuddin Sallu echoed Latif’s remarks about Sethi, saying: “The selection of players is done by the selection committee but the chairman has an important role in verifying the list on merit. He has shown that his decisions are taken on merit so we are optimistic to see an even better team in future.”
Sallu continued: “The changes in domestic cricket have assured the players that selection is made on merit rather than favouritism. This change was instigated by former chairman Shahryar Khan and Sethi has all the ability to take it forward with his excellent management skills.”
Shamsa Hashmi, the head of PCB’s Women Wing, expects the women’s cricket team to become a force under Sethi’s leadership. “Sethi has worked hard on the men’s game so he will surely work for the betterment of women cricket’s too, which is currently going through a downfall. Better players will be selected and a better plan for the players is expected,” she said.
Sethi becomes the latest addition to the board’s growing list of chairmen who have assumed the top role despite no formal cricketing background (only 2 of 30 PCB Chairmen have been former cricketers).
But his lack of technical cricketing knowledge shouldn’t stand in the way of heading the PCB, per Farooqi.
“It is not essential to be an ex-cricketer to become a chairman or to lead PCB affairs,” he said. “This job requires the best administrative skills, which a cricketer might not have. Sethi has proved his management skills already by organising the PSL. He is the best available man for this job and will prove himself with his vision.”