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PCB bats away conflict of interest issue

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani speaks at the PSL 2019 draft Getty Images/AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board appears to have made peace with potential conflicts of interest with the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq as the head coach and chief selector.

Though it has not been made public or official yet, Misbah is also on the verge of becoming the PSL franchise Islamabad United's head coach but the PCB contends that allowing him to coach at the PSL will ultimately be to "Pakistan's benefit". That by itself would represent somewhat of a U-turn by the board, given that PCB chairman Ehsan Mani has, in the recent past, spoken about looking at such cases and acting on it.

The issue had come under the scanner with Misbah's predecessor Mickey Arthur, who was also head coach at Karachi Kings, as well as Azhar Mahmood, who was Pakistan's bowling coach as well as Karachi Kings'.

"We have reviewed the policy and made a strategic decision by allowing Misbah to have coaching exposure elsewhere," Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive officer, said. "He has been a world-class player, he has captained elite players but he didn't work enough as coach so it's good for him to have coaching opportunities.

"It's for Pakistan's benefit because he will work in high-pressure games and get experience. Otherwise out of 365 days Pakistan is going to play only 42 days of international cricket. For the sake of Pakistan's success and the bigger picture it's good to have him get experience so we have discussed and reviewed it and decided to give him the opportunity."

Mani, who was not part of the board when Arthur took over as Pakistan coach in 2016, had questioned the decision to allow Arthur in both roles at the time. After becoming chairman, Mani took up the issue to try and form a policy against such instances. Mani had said he would look at it on a "case-by-case" basis.

It is understood that PCB has now found middle ground not only with Misbah but a junior team selector, Arshad Khan, who is also head coach of Balochistan, although now with the precedent set, the PCB will not be able to restrict other officials who wish to play such dual roles in both the national set-up and the PSL.

Last year, the PCB, under Mani, had removed chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq from the PSL player draft committee because of a potential conflict of interest since he was involved in a talent-hunt programme run by one of the tournament's franchises, Lahore Qalandars. Tauseef Ahmed, who was part of the national selection committee while also serving as Islamabad United's spin coach, was also left out of the PSL draft committee.