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ACC turning professional

Calcutta: The Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the sport’s first regional bonding, which came into being in the autumn of 1983, is finally on its way to becoming a professional set-up.

Bangladesh’s most visible face in the cricket fraternity, Syed Ashraful Huq, has been appointed chief executive and the process of registering the ACC as an off-shore company in Labuan (Malaysia) is almost complete.

Henceforth, only the ACC presidency — currently with Bangladesh — will rotate and its HQ in Kuala Lumpur will have contracted officials.

Structured somewhat on the lines of the International Cricket Council (ICC) — which, too, is registered in tax haven British Virgin Islands — the ACC will have three managers directly under Huq.

While Pakistan’s Zakir Hussain Syed has already been appointed development manager, the ACC is on the lookout for suitable candidates as finance manager as well as events and marketing manager.

Given that Bangladesh and Pakistan have representation, an Indian and a Sri Lankan may eventually get the remaining posts.

As is to be expected, the ACC’s constitution has been re-drawn.

“While one isn’t criticising anybody, it’s a fact that continuity suffered under the old system (where, with the change in presidency, the secretariat also rotated every two years) and transferring papers and accounts consumed much time,” Huq told The Telegraph Friday, soon after arriving here for the ACC Development Committee meeting.

[Incidentally, from the ICC alone, the ACC receives around $ 6-7 million every two years.]

Huq, who has shifted base from Dhaka, added the HQ should be fully functional within a few weeks.

Except for about three-and-half years in the early Nineties, Huq held key posts in the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) from 1983 till he quit this August. Could he, then, return to the BCB once his three-year contract ended'

“I don’t think so… At this stage, I’m not sure whether or not I’ll seek an extension but, after so many years as an administrator, I could decide not to continue in any post anywhere,” Huq, an allrounder who played for East Pakistan and Bangladesh, replied.

Talking about his priority, Huq said: “Without doubt, the ACC has to get the Asia Cup going… We need the tournament both for the unity of the body as well as fund-raising… Though it is Pakistan’s turn to play host, I’m hopeful the already-delayed eighth edition will eventually be staged by Bangladesh next year.”

The last edition, 2000, was also hosted by Bangladesh. As is known, No.8 has to be moved out of Pakistan for political reasons.

As the Asia Cup is critical to boosting development in the region, the tournament is bound to figure during the two-day Committee deliberations, beginning Saturday.

Asian Cricket Foundation chief Jagmohan Dalmiya will chair the meeting, but two gentlemen will be missed: Syed, who had problems with his visa and Committee chairman Duleep Mendis, who is in Australia (as adviser) with the Sri Lankan squad.

Both will be updated by the chief executive.

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