Ramiz Raja removed, new PCB chief Najam Sethi takes charge with strong-worded tweets

Former cricketer Ramiz Raja has been removed as chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) by the country’s government, which has appointed a 14-member committee, headed by Najam Sethi, to run the affairs of the game for the next four months.

The Pakistan government, through a notification late on Wednesday, removed Raja following the team’s 3-0 whitewash by England in the Test series.

The notification, issued by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, has to be approved by the federal cabinet, which is just a formality.

The developments on Wednesday confirmed speculation that Sharif, who is the patron-in-chief of the PCB, had decided to appoint Sethi as the new chairman of the country’s cricket body.

“The cricket regime headed by Ramiz Raja is no more. The 2014 PCB constitution stands restored. The Management Committee will work tirelessly to revive first class cricket. Thousands of cricketers will be employed again. The famine in cricket will come to an end,” tweeted Sethi.

“Thank you all cricket enthusiasts for welcoming change in PCB affairs. Please wish our team good luck going forward. There is a lot of work to be done and some undone!” he added.

Raja served as PCB chairman for 15 months after he was appointed by former premier Imran Khan to head the board in September 2021.

Raja had taken over as the 36th chairman of the PCB after his predecessor Ehsan Mani had stepped down from the post. He was the fourth former cricketer to be appointed to the post after Ijaz Butt (2008-11), Javed Burki (1994-95) and Abdul Hafeez Kardar (1972-77).

Sethi was the chairman and CEO of the PCB between 2013-2018 and resigned soon after Imran and his party won the 2018 general elections.

There was, however, no official word from the PCB or Raja on the latest developments days before the Test series against New Zealand, beginning in Karachi on December 26.

The notification states that the PM has “reviewed” the 2014 constitution of the PCB and abolished the existing constitution made in 2019.

As per the notification, Sethi will head the management committee that includes former Pakistan players Shahid Afridi, Haroon Rasheed, Shafqat Rana, and former women’s team captain Sana Mir.

The rest of the committee comprises of former members of the governing board, which was dissolved in 2019.

The notification also states that Sharif’s order had been duly vetted by the Law and Justice Division and now needs to be approved by the federal cabinet, which will be done on Thursday.

The notification was issued a few hours after the PCB announced the Test squad for the series against New Zealand, which is touring Pakistan after 19 years.