Najam Sethi pulls out of PCB chairmanship race
Najam Sethi, who took over as interim chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) last year after former Pakistani batter Ramiz Raja stepped down, has withdrawn from the race to become the PCB's next chairman.
The 75-year-old journalist-turned-cricket administrator announced his decision on Twitter late Monday night, citing a political disagreement over the appointment between the ruling coalition's main parties. He stated that he does not want to "be a bone of contention between Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif," and that the conflict's instability and uncertainty are bad for the PCB.
"Salaam everyone! I don't want to be a bone of contention between Asif Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif. Such instability and uncertainty are not good for PCB. Under the circumstances, I am not a candidate for the Chairmanship of PCB. Good luck to all stakeholders," he tweeted.
According to ESPNcricinfo, Sethi was the chairman of an interim management committee that had been in charge of the board since December but whose term was set to expire on June 21. He appeared to be the favourite to continue and be appointed chairman once the interim set-up ended, but speculation about Zaka Ashraf's return had grown in recent weeks.
Sethi and Ashraf have a history of competing for the Pakistan Cricket Board's leadership. In 2013 and 2014, they were embroiled in a protracted legal battle over the position. According to Pakistani media reports, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) disagreed over the appointment of the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Pakistan Federal Minister Ehsan Mazari announced earlier this month that Zaka Ashraf would be the next PCB chairman. Mazari stated that Sethi was appointed for four months to conduct PCB chairman elections. The management committee was initially given 120 days to complete its mandate of restoring the 2014 constitution, which aimed to resurrect departmental cricket. However, Sethi and his team were granted a four-week extension, which expires on June 20.