Race for Managing Director Pakistan Cricket Board

December 5, 2018 | By

Last month, PCB advertised post of Managing Director. It was surprising since in the past Chairmen had tried hogging the power. Ehsan Mani took it differently, instead of being all-powerful, in his attempt to strengthen the structure of the board and to run it in a corporate style he had suggested ceding his powers.

Reportedly over three-hundred candidates applied for the vacancy newly created by the PCB. It has been found out, after necessary amendments in the constitution, the executive powers will also be given to the newly appointed MD.

Out of the 300 or over candidates 9 were shortlisted. It also included Dr. Nauman Niaz Director Sports & Syndication of the PTV and Wasim Khan currently working as CEO of Leicestershire. Insiders have revealed only 2 were further short-listed. Dr. Nauman Niaz and Wasim Khan are competing for the slot. Both have powerful resumes.

Wasim Khan was born at Birmingham on February 26th, 1971. He batted and bowled left-handed. He represented Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Sussex, ending with 58 first-class matches scoring 5 centuries and his best of 181. In Birmingham, he has been the neighbour of former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Muhammad.

From a Kashmiri family, his parents shifted to England in the 1960s. Wasim Gulzar Khan took up cricket at a young age and was chosen on the Warwickshire U 13’s and captained them in 1983.

Wasim was part of the Warwickshire team that won two titles in 1995, averaging 49 with the bat. He had represented the England U 19s. He has headed Chance to Shine Cricket Foundation picking up £50 million. He has also written an autobiography ‘Brim Full’ published in 2007.

Chance to Shine has reached over 1.8 million children across 6,500 schools and has raised close to £40 million. He is also on the board of Equality & Human Rights Commission Sports Group, the Prince’s Trust Cricket Group and now working for the ECB as part of their anti-corruption and security unit.

In January 2015, he completed MBA from the University of Warwick. He has been working as CEO of the Leicestershire County. He was awarded MBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours.

Wasim Khan is a British national, not having on him the Pakistan passport but has NICOP. Interesting it is that a British National born to parents of Pakistan origin is expected to run the country’s cricket. A country which has different demographic spread and problems unlike in England where the infrastructure and working are much stronger. If it happens, we will have an alien trying to re-assemble our cricket structure, market and trends. Scary it is, if PCB appoints Wasim Khan, purely a westerner to run Pakistan cricket will surely be a contempt to our indigenous stock.

Inside reports give us an interesting feedback. Wasim has connections with some of the ruling party politicians. Reportedly, PM Imran who wants department cricket eliminated has been promised that Wasim Khan can introduce English structure in Pakistan. How can a man having lived in UK for 48 years will be able to acquaint himself with Pakistan’s regional politics, the District cricket associations and patriarchal influences? How he will have access to the provincial & federal bureaucracy, and how he will manage constitutional amendments or the regional constitutions implemented through the ministry is beyond understanding. He is bound to fail and if PCB has him will only be another debunked experiment.

Dr. Nauman Niaz is a household name in Pakistan. Nauman played school, college, university, U 19 cricket and in the late 1980s and early 1990s was part of the Rawalpindi team. He was born on 19th November 1969 at Lahore. He hails from an Army family of white-collared ancestry. Having been educated at Station School Rawalpindi, Convent Jesus & Mary Sialkot, St’ Mary’s Academy Rawalpindi & Aitchison College Lahore.

Later, he completed his medical degree from Rawalpindi Medical College. He is Member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK), Fellow Royal College of the Physicians Edinburgh, London, Ireland and Glasgow. He also holds PhD from University of Western Australia and Post-Doctoral from Keble College Oxford in England.

Dr. Nauman’s writings were blunt and technically fully equipped. His articles since the late 1980s were printed in almost all the national English dailies and also abroad. His main subject has been Pakistan’s domestic cricket. He was on the Academy of Cricket Statisticians, not only collecting lost scorecards of first-class matches but led by the late Gul Hameed Bhatti, with the late Nauman Bader and Abid Ali Kazi identified there was a match played prior the one which was taken as the first in country’s history.

From 1999 until 2001, Dr. Nauman worked with the Asian Cricket Council and the Pakistan Cricket Board and has the experience of being Pakistan team’s Associate Manager on tours to the UAE, West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2000 attracting mentions from the management and players alike.

He has worked as Manager Media of the PCB and Manager Coordination of the Asian Cricket Council and was instrumental in devising and writing Vision 2005 of the Chairman PCB. He also compiled official history of Pakistan cricket published in 2005 and launched by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Dr. Nauman was first introduced to the Pakistan Television during the Wills World Cup 1996 and thereafter, he became a household name. Besides hosting shows on the Pakistan Television, he has also worked for ESPN, Star India, Television New Zealand, Grenada Television, Trans World International, World Tel and Tensports.

In 2012, he was on the launching team of PTV Sports, thereafter working as Head of Content and Operations of the PTV Sports. In 2014, he was awarded Tamagha-i-Imtiaz in Sports Broadcasting and Journalism for making PTV Sports on revenue and rating the top channel in Pakistan.

As Director of Sports & Syndication besides ensuring PTV Sports’ content inventory was commercially viable, he as Head of PTV Sports made it, the most potent channel of the PTV Network. PTV had long been forgotten, it was Dr. Nauman’s single-handed endevours that brought the sports mad population back to the state network. His unprecedented decisions included, due to his own credibility amongst the international players, top-ex foreign stars were brought to Pakistan at the time when the country had been alienated.

Attracting Sir Vivian Richards, Ian Chappell, Brian Lara, Glen McGrath, Sanath Jayasuriya, Sir Curtly Ambrose and a host of others to sit and analyze cricket in Islamabad. It is on record from one event the ICC World Cup 2015, PTV earned a record-breaking Rs 1.39 billion (as reported in the press). On the state channel, he was the first one to air live shows (simulcast) with the Indian counterparts during the ICC World Cup 2015.

He had assembled an International XI comprising biggest names of cricket to tour Pakistan and play festive matches in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi however Najam Sethi resisted more interested in launching the Pakistan Super League in 2016 at the UAE. It was PTV Sports’ effort to bring back international cricket to the country.

Dr. Nauman’s signature show GAME ON HAI is the highest on revenue and ratings in Pakistan and the content is non-agenda based, it is about reforms and to end the status quo.

Recently, he was in England where he underwent Bone Marrow Transplant and reportedly such was his dedication sustaining chemotherapy, he still appeared on shows during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 to ensure PTV Sports ended up making Rs 700 Million as proclaimed by the ex-Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting during a launch show in March 2018. Dr. Nauman made PTV Sports, despite all the impediments, into a commercially most viable channel while the network was ending up in losses up to approximately Rs 2 billion.

Dr. Nauman broke the status quo, with the sheer weight of his personality he became a trendsetter on PTV Sports. The content was independent without any restrictions one expects on a state channel. Insiders in the PTV reveal during his tenure the channel has picked up sports broadcasting market share up to 63 percent and each cricketing event gets the network a ROI ranging between 250 to 300 percent. Fact is, such is his management he hardly resists change.

Dr. Nauman Niaz is an indigenous product having worked closely in unexplored areas of kinetics and biomechanics, sports nutrition and rehabilitation and has in depth knowledge of the regional politics, the ailing first-class structure and someone who is also familiar to the Pakistani culture and the environment at the Pakistan Cricket Board. He is well-versed with in-house politics of the PCB, as it was in the PTV.

He houses one of the largest personal cricket collections in the world. Someone who can invest millions of rupees to buy cricket antiques from the auctions has a passion, passion to see Pakistan cricket flourishing.

The race for the slot is evidently tough? Wasim Khan has his own strengths and a heavy resume however, he looks misfit in an environment where one requires to re-establish systems and to erode regional politics besides tapping the market and also introducing reforms within the PCB.

Dr. Nauman is one of us, someone whose strong personality and deep understanding of Pakistan cricket can surely make a difference. He is a man for change. He isn’t someone believing in status quo.

Insiders indicate the high-profiled panel which interviewed both Wasim Khan and Dr. Nauman will not wilt under political pressures and the decision is most likely to be taken on merit. To them, Dr. Nauman should be winning the race because of him being a package, from basic understanding to market, sales, administration and liaison with the provincial and federal governments.

Let’s see if a foreigner comes to hog Pakistan’s cricket or it is someone who belongs to us.

Shoaib Ahmed

Shoaib Ahmed is an author at ScoreLine and has written numerous cricket articles published at ScoreLine.org.

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