Former Pakistan batsman Ramiz Raja has formally been elected as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Raja’s election by the PCB governing board members was a foregone conclusion as he was the only candidate for the post. His unopposed election was expected after Pakistan’s Prime Minister and the PCB’s patron-in-chief Imran Khan nominated him on August 27 along with the fact that the outgoing Ehsan Mani did not seek another term.
PCB election commissioner retired judge Sheikh Azmat Saeed supervised the election process where Raja officially took on the role. Raja three-year term will be the 36th term of a PCB chairman and he is the 30th person to assume the role. He follows in the footsteps of Ijaz Butt, Javed Burki, and Abdul Hafeez Kardar as only the fourth former cricketer to become the PCB chairman after.
In a press conference after his confirmation as the chairman, Raja thanked Prime Minister Khan for his token of confidence saying the PCB chairman role was going to be an enormous challenge. Raja said Australian batter Matthew Hayden and South African bowler Vernon Philander will join the team group as coaches for the T20 World Cup 2021 campaign. He said the team only needs slight tweaks and improvements to win the upcoming world cup. He said that the quality of the men’s and women’s national cricket teams reflect the performance of the governing body. On the domestic level, the 1992 World Cup winner highlighted and pledged to improve the grassroots, club-level, and first-class cricket saying that a generation of talented cricketers was being regularly ignored.
Since his nomination for the top role, it is understood that Raja has taken a keen interest in the inner workings of the PCB. It is reported that he played a key role in the selection of Pakistan’s upcoming T20 World Cup squad. More importantly, Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis resigned within hours of the announcement of the squad.
Raja has previously worked with the PCB as chief executive from 2003 to 2004 and was key to the execution of India’s historic tour of Pakistan in 2004. He also made radical changes to the domestic system, integrating the idea of regions in the existing system. He also proposed offering central contracts to the national players; however, his idea came to the fore after he had left his role.