Karachi: Stung by the criticism over the manner in which he has become the first elected chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, Zaka Ashraf on Friday insisted that the process adopted by the PCB was according to recommendations of the International Cricket Council.
Ashraf has come in for sharp criticism from former heads of the Board and former players over the manner he was elected as PCB chief on Wednesday under the new constitution.
Former captain Rashid Latif has challenged Ashraf's election in the Sindh High Court while the heads of regional cricket associations of Faisalabad and Sialkot have also gone to the Lahore High Court against the entire process.
At a press conference in Lahore, Ashraf explained that his endorsement as chairman of PCB for the next four years was done through a representation process which has been approved by the ICC. He said though his election was not a completely democratic process, the representation process had been done as per ICC requirements.
According to the amended constitution, the chairman is still a nominated candidate though one who is "endorsed" by ten elected members in the Board of Governors. "The new constitution complies with the recommendations made by the ICC and has been accepted, appreciated and welcomed by the ICC," Ashraf said. "It has been a much-needed transition and a necessary step in ensuring the development and better administration of the game of cricket. The key features of the constitution were also discussed individually with the ICC president and CEO and it fulfills the requirements of parameters laid down by them. The PCB is fully compliant," he said. "The new constitution entrusts the Board of Governors (BoG) with greater responsibility and the power to make regulations for the better governance of the PCB," he added.

In 2011, the ICC stipulated that its member Boards should become autonomous and free of interference from governments by June 2013. The PCB had its constitution amended to comply with the ICC recommendations and Ashraf was endorsed as chairman of the Board for the next four years by the Board of Governors this week.
Interestingly, the chief patron of the Board who is the President of Pakistan in the past directly appointed the PCB chairman to signal a clear government interference in cricket matters but even under the new constitution he plays a central role in appointing the chairman although now a nomination committee, including two members of the BOG, has to nominate candidates and the BOG than elects/selects one of them. The restructured 14-member body includes five elected regional representatives picked on a rotation basis and five elected representatives of service organizations and departments who have the power of endorsement to the nominated chairman.
Stronger regions like Karachi, Faisalabad and Sialkot have raised a hue and cry over the fact that lesser known regions who have no proper teams or cricket structures had been made representatives in the BOG by Ashraf and they then proceeded to endorse his candidature. The biggest criticism has been directed at the inclusion of Larkana and Dera Murad Jamali in the BOG. PCB's legal advisor, Tafazzul Rizvi defended the secretive nature of the entire process held to elect Ashraf as chairman by insisting that it was an internal matter of the Board. "This is a representative process, that's why the word nominated as per process has been used (in the constitution)," he explained. "There are certain criteria which are defined in the constitution and the word democracy has a wide range. The PCB election is different from the way general elections are conducted."


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