- Says it reserves the right to pursue legal proceedings to protect and defend the image and credibility of its chairman and the institution
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday expressed its disappointment “over the comments made and language used by former chairman Ramiz Raja against chairman of the PCB Management Committee Najam Sethi on a social media platform and in a TV interview.”
In a statement, it said that “former chairman Ramiz’s comments are aimed at tarnishing and damaging the impeccable reputation of present chairman Sethi.”
The PCB reserves the right to pursue legal proceedings to protect and defend the image and credibility of its chairman and the institution, it said.
The PCB’s statement comes in response to a video posted by Ramiz on his YouTube channel where he slammed the PCB for “political interference” by amending the cricket board’s constitution to accommodate incumbent chairman Najam Sethi and “his thugs”.
Ramiz was sacked last week, just days after the national team suffered a humiliating Test series defeat at the hands of England.
Appointments to run the sport in the cricket-mad country are highly politicised, and responsibility lies with the prime minister and cabinet.
A change had been on the cards since April, when Imran Khan was ousted as prime minister and replaced by Shehbaz Sharif.
Ramiz said there should be “no involvement of politics in cricket”, adding that it was a game for cricketers and was their playing field, stressing that people from outside should not be brought in who “come and attack and think the work you are doing is not right”.
“You changed the entire [PCB] Constitution to bring in one person, Najam Sethi, and to adjust him. I’ve never seen this anywhere else in the world,” he said.
In response, the cricket board said that the PCB patron, “on the popular demand of cricket fans, administrators as well as former and current cricketers, exercised the constitutional right by restoring the PCB Constitution 2014 to safeguard the livelihoods, wellbeing and careers of professional cricketers as it recognised the role of departmental cricket, which was not the case in the PCB Constitution 2019 promulgated by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government”.
“PCB Chief Operating Officer Salman Naseer has already rebutted Ramiz Raja’s allegations that he was not allowed to collect his belongings by confirming these were picked up personally by him and will be returned to Ramiz today (Wednesday) as a part of the usual handing and taking over process.”
Ramiz was never stopped from entering the Gaddafi Stadium premises and will be welcome to visit any time in future, the PCB said.
Sethi, who was elected as the PCB’s 34th chairman in August 2017 for a three-year term, had voluntarily resigned with two years remaining in his tenure after his nominating authority lost the 2018 general elections in July.
“This clearly indicates his approach and positive attitude,” said the PCB.
Similar to Sethi’s appointment as chairman of the PCB Management Committee, Ramiz had also been elected as the PCB chairman on the eve of the 2021-22 domestic season on September 13, 2021 and two days after the New Zealand cricket team had arrived in Islamabad on their first tour in 18 years.
“It is common knowledge that 10 days after Ramiz was nominated on the Board of Governors on 27 August 2022 by the then Patron, former captains and Pakistan stalwarts Mishab-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis were on September 6, 2021 made to step down as head and fast bowling coaches, respectively.
“Just over a month later and 16 days before the first match in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 against India, three changes were made in the squad. Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain were replaced by Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali, respectively, while Fakhar Zaman replaced Khushdil Shah in the 15-player squad. Later, Shoaib Malik replaced an injured Sohaib Maqsood in the side.”
On December 21, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had nominated a 14-member management committee headed by Sethi to run the PCB affairs till the elections are held within the next four months.