As was widely expected, former ICC president Ehsan Mani has been elected unopposed as PCB chairman for a term of three years. He was the only candidate to submit his nomination papers for the vacant post, and all members of Board of Governors (BoG) unanimously voted for him to head the PCB. He replaces Najam Sethi, who resigned last month.
The special meeting of the board was headed by interim chairman and election commissioner Justice (retired) Afzal Haider. Mani assumes his executive powers as PCB chairman with immediate effect, and had a brief meeting with the BoG members after the election.
His election to the post of chairman was considered a mere formality after he was nominated for the position by Pakistan's new prime minister and, thereby, patron of the PCB, Imran Khan.
Mani had represented the PCB at the ICC from 1989 to 1996, and also served as a director of the ICC finance and marketing committee from 1996 to 2002. He was the key man in negotiating the lucrative sale of the media rights for the ICC, pouring money into cricket that hadn't existed before. He later served as ICC president from 2003 to 2006. He often worked as a consultant with various boards to help them with TV rights sales.
For Mani, the immediate task is to review the legal battle started by previous chairman Najam Sethi over two unplayed bilateral series against India. The PCB and the BCCI are set to face off before the ICC's dispute panel on October 1. The PCB claims up to USD 70million in lost revenue from the failure of the BCCI to play two series - in November 2014 and December 2015 - which were agreed to by the boards in 2014. Both series were officially slotted into the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP) with Pakistan as the host. However, amid a deteriorating political situation, the BCCI did not go ahead with those series.
Mani will also need to turn his eyes to the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The franchise-based T20 league has largely been played in the UAE, something the hosts are looking to change, and it also awaits fresh commercial and TV rights signings. Besides, all six teams have been left hanging since the national election results in July that made Sethi's departure all but inevitable, given his well-publicised poor relationship with Imran Khan. A meeting between the PCB and PSL franchise owners was slotted to take place last month to discuss various topics, but was postponed indefinitely, presumably in anticipation of a new chairman taking charge.
Mani had already met with the national team's coaching staff, headed by Mickey Arthur, on Monday, as Pakistan's 18-man squad undergoes a skills camp at the Gaddafi Stadium ahead of the Asia Cup in the UAE. Pakistan are also set for a busy winter season with full home series against Australia and New Zealand in Dubai and Abu Dhabi between October and December, followed by an away tour to South Africa.