Ehsan Mani has taken guard, like a solid batsman. As a professional who has been at the helm of various cricketing houses for the last three decades. Mani was Pakistan’s representative in the International Cricket Council from 1989 to 1996 before serving as a director of the ICC finance and marketing committee from 1996 to 2002.
It was Mani who brought lucrative media rights for the ICC helping the game’s administrative and governing body to go commercial. He then served as ICC president from 2003 to 2006. Various cricket boards, including the PCB, have taken help from Mani as consultant to help them sale TV rights.
PCB’s current television rights decided in 2015 was also helped by Mani.
So there are no doubts of his acumen as a cricket administrator but to run a board like the PCB and in a country like Pakistan, it’s an onerous task. New PM Imran Khan knows Mani’s value and he had decided much before winning the elections that he will appoint Mani as PCB head once he comes to power. Khan took few minutes to do that once Najam Sethi resigned.
Mani briefed the media on his objectives and plans soon after getting elected unopposed. Here are excerpts on his press conference:
On bilateral series with India, Dispute case
“I can tell you that I will not request India nor will I persist with them to play with us. Their own policy has been contradicting overall as they always ready to play in multi-nation tournament like Asia Cup and World Cup and pulls out on bilateral arrangements. So I never understood their positions and the basis of their policy. Even when I was in ICC they used to threaten on pulling out on ICC tournaments but I never bow down. I told them that I could suspend your membership but unfortunately in my this position I can’t do this. ICC, since then has, been different as India’s influence has stretched a lot but for Pakistan I will not compromise on self respect and will not stand back on our standing,” Mani stated.
“We also have a case against them in the ICC for which we are well prepared and will not budge from our stance,” he added.
Mr Chairman in his first address revealed his plannings to make the domestic cricket up to the mark.
“I have set my priorities to fix domestic cricket and make it stronger than ever because this is the spot from where cricketers come through. I met with Patron (PM Imran) and he publicly expressed to have lesser teams in domestic tournaments so that we have more quality. He has also suggested for an Australian model but we instead have to invent a Pakistani model. Because we have different circumstances but in principle only quality teams will be playing first class cricket and we in the end will have a full back of 16-18 in the system fully ready all the time.
This won’t happen overnight we have to do a thorough reviews, consultation with all stage holders and we cannot ignore departments who are the major contributor in our domestic structure. They are undoubtedly the major employers of our cricketers and we cannot keep them out of the loop. I am making a management task force that will identify the problems and then involve all the consultants for the review and how we can make the structure stronger. There are a lot of challenges but we have to dilute the power where it should be and make the regional set up more empowered.” Mani said.
Mani wants some changes in the current constitution of the PCB as according to him a couple points must get amended.
“As of today I am the chairman but I have a major concern about the condition (in the PCB Constitution) which gives a lot of power to chairman not only to make policy but implement which isn’t a good practice. Everywhere in the world this doesn’t happen like this so we have to tweak the constitution. In PCB the chairman is also the executive officer and committee structure is not following the best practice as they are carrying a conflict of interest.
Ideally, professional teams run on professional basis and my all intent will be to get the system run on professional basis. Whoever the chairman is there is a system in which the importance of cricket should be enhanced and we will be running the cricket to serve only one purpose and that is cricket and nothing else. The whole system should run only for cricketers and the importance of chairman and board members will be toned down. So the whole intent is to take Pakistan to next level by rationalizing and professionalizing the system.”
The PCB boss needs some time to understand the structure of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but he will try to take the only cricketing league of Pakistan on next level.
“I have to understand the structure of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). PSL is part of the PCB, like we host the Quaid-e-Azam trophy so we have to take care of it. PCB chairman is automatically the chairman of the PSL. I want transparency in all the financial matters. The audit of PSL 1 has been done by a private firm as well as by the auditor general. There are a few 3 objections by the auditor general so have to address them. I want transparency so all the accounts of the PCB for the last three years will be placed on the web site so that everyone can have a look at them and ask us about it. Until and unless they are there you will not have trust on us,”