No rift with Najam Sethi: Shaharyar Khan

Source: Published in Sports on Friday, August 28, 2015

The Super League and Pakistan's series against India have emerged as major talking points within the cricket board, with chairman Shahryar Khan being forced to clarify that he was not on a collision course with Executive Committee head, Najam Sethi.

“There is no division in the board,” Khan said in an interview with Cricinfo when asked about Sethi's influence in the PCB.

“He is the nominee of the Patron of the Board and heads the executive committee. I am the chairman and all the decision are taken by me and it's my discretion to approve or not to approve,” Khan added.

“He [Najam] has his own views and I respect them but we are all on the same line.”

But it seems Khan and the former chairman were not entirely on the same page.

In an interview with Dawn last month, Khan had criticised the decision to hold the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which has its own governing team, outside of the country saying, “My theory is that if you can’t do something well, don’t do it.”

“I’m not a great T20 man so I’ve left this project to Najam Sethi and the others. But at the moment, it’s looking dicey. And at this late stage, to go to Qatar and put everything right for February, it’s going to be difficult,” Khan had said before retracting his statement days later.

He had also emphasised that he wanted to host the tournament in Pakistan even if it meant not getting the top-quality players.

But the twice-postponed PSL was formalised on Wednesday, with Sethi announcing that the tournament would be held in Doha, Qatar, from 4-24 February next year.

“The PSL will be held in Doha from February 4-24 with a prize money of one million dollars (100 million rupees) and we are getting encouraging responses from sponsors and foreign players,” Sethi revealed.

Sethi, who was chairman of the board when Pakistan backed the 'Big Three' in return for guarantee of series with India, has also come under-fire from various quarters after BCCI ruled out any cricket between the two teams amid prevailing political tensions.

But an annoyed Sethi shot back on Wednesday saying he was not bothered by the statements in the media.

“I am not bothered by political statements coming from India or the fuss in the media around the series. I see it happening because they are highs and lows in Indo-Pak relations all the time,” Sethi said of the India series.

But Khan apparently is not so optimistic and went as far saying that Pakistan cricket could “survive without India.”

“It's not that we can't survive without playing them. We are surviving, and can survive, but our position is that the game shouldn't be mixed up with the politics. So we are trying to get the series revived based on the MOU they have signed with us. They have to honour it and if they don't it's their responsibility,” the 81-year-old Khan said.

According to the MoU signed between the PCB and the BCCI last year, six bilateral series were planned in the next eight years.

The PCB is to host the first one in the UAE in December but the Indian government, citing political reasons, hasn’t allowed the BCCI to confirm participation.

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