Sethi: All unemployed cricketers are critics of PCB

In an exclusive conversation with Sportstar, the new PCB chief talks about wanting to infuse young professional blood into the board and making it a dynamic organisation.

Najam Sethi was elected as the new PCB chairman on Wednesday replacing Shahryar Khan.   -  AFP

 

There had been speculations for the last few months that Najam Sethi would replace Shahryar Khan as the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Finally, on Wednesday, the Board chose the journalist-turned administrator, Sethi, as its new chief.

In his first exclusive interview to an Indian publication, hours after becoming the PCB chief, Najam Sethi opens his heart out. While he hints at a truce with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the veteran administrator wants to ensure that international cricket returns to Pakistan at the earliest.

Excerpts…

Congratulations on becoming the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). As the new chief of the Board, what would your immediate target be?

I have set myself one main medium-term target — to bring international cricket back to Pakistan. That includes gradually shifting Pakistan Super League (PSL) from the UAE to Pakistan. In the short term, I want to infuse young professional blood into PCB and make it a dynamic organisation.

Even as international cricket looks set for a return in Pakistan, an India-Pakistan bilateral series still looks bleak. Being the new PCB chief, how do you plan to address the issues?

Restoring cricketing ties with India is important. But it takes two hands to clap. BCCI is caught up in internal woes and the Indian government is not enthusiastic about cricketing ties with Pakistan. But PCB-BCCI ties could worsen in view of our decision to sue BCCI for reneging on a contract with us.

What are you hinting at?

The Indian public should stand up and tell its government not to bring politics into cricket. Nothing beats an India-Pakistan match for unsurpassed tension and excitement.

You take over from Shahryar Khan, someone who leaves behind a rich legacy. How do you plan to keep the momentum going in Pakistan cricket?

Mian (Sir) Shahryar and I jointly administered PCB for three years during which I delivered the PSL which helped infuse fresh blood into the team that won the Champions Trophy. I will continue on that path.

In the recent past, there have been instances of corrupt practices in Pakistan cricket. What’s your take on this?

I have zero tolerance for corrupt practices and sifarshis. And I support the idea of a disciplined regime.

With lot of controversies cropping up in PCB, as a leader, how do you plan to address the issues in the next couple of years?

The Pakistan media thrives on hunting the PCB. There is no other sport in the country that evokes such strong emotions and prejudices. All unemployed cricketers are critics of PCB. The challenge is to get your voice into the din. But success has many fathers and failure is an orphan.