A Journalist and a political commentator, Najam Sethi, after serving as a caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab during 2013 general elections was appointed as the acting chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board after the Islamabad High Court ordered the appointment of an interim chairman until a pending case on the serving chairman, Zaka Ashraf, was decided.
That was apparently just a journey of month for him but actually it wasn’t.
He never left PCB entirely and keep on working as an influential figure at the board.
Every Cricket fan and stake holder was not just unhappy but they consider it an act of treason to place a man with not a single run experience in this field and making decision at such large scale. He faced backlash at every level, social media, print media and electronic media.
At that time Pakistan cricket was suffering and maybe that was the reason why it was even more difficult for the stake holders to bear an outsider in their heaven.
Some called him a “parchi” because according to them PCB was handed over to him as a gift of some “political favours” .
But not after a very long time things started to become easy for him as he did what no other person before him was able to do.
PCB was at the firing range literally after unsuccessful attempts of conducting their own T20 league, Sethi was appointed as the Chairman of Pakistan Super League (Pakistan’s T20 League) in 2015 and first ever tournament was held in UAE in 2016 and it was a dream come true for Pakistanis.
Luckily, I was there at the inauguration when Sethi like a conqueror was standing on stage and addressing the nation and congratulating the whole Pakistan, that tournament went on to become one of the top league after just one season in UAE, he managed to cater many big names for the tournament but for critiques that wasn’t enough.
He received criticism for holding it in UAE and not in Pakistan.
In the second edition of Pakistan Super League, Sethi not only convinced many well-known greats of the game to feature in the league with the help of senior Pakistani players with good rapport at international level like Shahid Afridi and few else, but he also did an impossible of conducting a PSL Final in Lahore.
Before that Zimbabwe Cricket Team visited Pakistan as well due to Sethi’s efforts.
Both the occasions were like a national festival for this peace loving nation and this “outsider” started making his haters more like into fans but he didn’t stop there.
He promised to make an International Team visit Pakistan possible, he did that.
He promised to conduct at least one match of PSL in Pakistan, he did that.
He prevented the spot fixing soon enough that it didn’t contaminate the league and alleged responsible players were sent back immediately.
Few names are given the punishment and major players are still going through the legal process.
Maybe he is a “Parchi” or maybe he didn’t have any experience of the game but he has managed to do things that were impossible for many before him with “experience” of a lifetime.
Most recently he has announced the names of World XI which is going to play three T20 matches in Pakistan and those names are not “Phateechar” at all, those names include five former and current International Captains. 12, 13 and 15 of September are the lucky dates for this series named as the “Independence Cup”.
International Cricket Council have given this series an International status as well.
Captain of World XI Faf du Plessis said if they weren’t sure about the security no amount of money would have convinced us to visit, we would have cricket and nothing else in our mind when we land in Lahore. And that’s not just an ordinary statement, every Pakistani even Sethi’s worst critics know that.
T20 World Champions West Indies have also agreed to visit Pakistan and Sri Lanka Cricket Board chairman has also indicated that they are willing to play in Pakistan. We have to wait and see if that really happens too and considering Sethi’s performance you cannot rule this possibility out at any cost.
Being an outsider and considered to have given the post as favour he has done a lot better than expected, he is changing the course of Pakistan’s cricketing history and loyal cricket fans know when to appreciate a man even if they have many disagreement over many issues.
I hope things go as planned.
We congratulate Pakistan Cricket Board and welcome World XI to Pakistan.