President of ZTBL (Zarai Taraqiyati Bank Limited) Zaka Ashraf was handpicked by President Asif Ali Zardari to be the next Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on 11 October, 2011.

Chaudhary Zaka Ashraf replaced the controversial Ijaz Butt, who completed his tenure on 8 October, 2011, which started from 2008.

Ijaz’s tenure was plagued by controversies and was the worst in Pakistan cricket and will be remembered for a long time. His time as the PCB chairman included the spot-fixing scandal in England which included batsman/captain Salman Butt, bowler Muhammad Asif and the young speedster who took the cricketing world by storm, Muhammad Amir.

The scandal in England led to bans on the Pakistani trio, and prior to the spot-fixing scandal there was a little matter of an attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore 2009.

During his tenure, Ijaz Butt was heavily criticized and the passionate Pakistani cricket followers scrutinized his every move regarding the sport, which consequently reflected in team performances.

After all that the former PCB chairman had the nerve to get an extension and he tried his best to do so, but it seems the pressure finally got to the PCB’S chief patron, Zardari, and it needed no cricket expert to see that Ijaz’s three-year stint brought unprecedented miseries to the sport.

However, the public and the former test cricketers and the former PCB bosses played their role in halting an extension to Ijaz, and wanted a new man who understands the games and has a cricketing mind to run the board.

In came Zaka Ashraf, who is thought to be a keen follower of the sport and he has a little experience of regularizing jobs of cricketer in his bank, Zarai Taraqiyati Bank Limited.

These weren’t the only credentials needed to get him the job, if that was the case than former Test captains Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas were far more qualified for the job, and they also applied for the job, but in a country which lacks formal legal rationality and gets rid of merit in every way possible, makes decisions based on close relations rather than credentials.

Zaka Ashraf took over the stronger candidates mainly because he is a member of the ruling party Pakistan Peoples Party’s Chief Executive Committee, and he also is president Zardri’s close aide and both of them studied together at Petaro College and stayed in the hostel.

Once again the president has disappointed the cricket mad fans, by giving the chairmanship to his close aide rather than going with the merit.

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