31 Oct

While there is more than a year to run on Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan’s original three-year contract (which is due to expire in February 2022) and talks have begun on a new deal, he has asked for time before committing and is unsure about his future.

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani is understood to have suggested another three-year deal, but Wasim has said he is considering all term options. He will provide an answer in February 2021.

Taking on the role at a turbulent time, Wasim has enjoyed some success in improving Pakistan's status as a venue that is safe and welcoming for touring teams.

On his watch, this year's PSL has been played at home in its entirety for the first time, while Test cricket has also returned to the country. His personal relationship with key figures at other boards is understood to have been instrumental in this progress, with South Africa due to tour in January 2021 and Australia and England due to follow in 2022.

Hopes also remain high of a short T20 tour by England to Karachi in January 2021, with a couple of first-class counties - Warwickshire and Leicestershire - exploring the possibility of pre-season tours to the country in the coming years. Zimbabwe are currently in Pakistan playing six limited-overs games.

But there has also been controversy. There have, for example, been radical changes to the domestic structure (changes foisted upon the administration by the Prime Minister and board patron, Imran Khan) which has reduced the number of teams and resulted in the unemployment of a considerable number of players and coaches and reductions in the earnings of those retained. Recently, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali met with the Prime Minister to ask for a change, a request that was summarily dismissed.

This has led to some very vocal criticism, focused on Wasim revolving around him being an "outsider" with no knowledge of Pakistan culture, as well as the size of his salary.

Wasim was born in the UK - he became the first UK-born Muslim of Pakistan origin to play county cricket - to a father who had been born in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

"It's been an eye-opening experience," Wasim told ESPNcricinfo. "The encouraging thing is that the overwhelming majority of people have been very supportive and understand what we are trying to achieve and that there had to be change.

"We are about to start working on our 2023 FTP cycle and that will be a major task going forward. We are also going to bid for ICC events so there is an exciting time ahead and I want to consider an extension, but I am not sure about how many years."

The situation is complicated by uncertainty over the future of Mani. The PCB chairman's tenure is due to end in September 2021 and though he could be appointed for another term, it isn't certain that he wants to, although he has not confirmed this.

There's been talk of Wasim Akram, who remains close to Imran Khan, as one potential option - Akram is a member of the board's cricket committee but is also generally busy with a number of broadcast and commercial commitments. With chief executive and chairman required to work together closely, the identify of Mani's replacement, if one is required, may colour Wasim Khan's decision.

John Stephenson


#Cricketnews #PCB

* The email will not be published on the website.