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Zia quits as PCB chief, Rameez may take over
- Controversy over son Junaid’s selection, TV rights row lead to dramatic decision

Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Lt Gen. Tauqir Zia resigned on Monday, saying that a controversy over his son’s selection had contributed to his decision.

“That was one of the reasons,” Zia told a news conference. “A controversy was created for no reason. And I know my son is a very sensitive boy and he was under pressure as a cricketer because of my position.”

Medium-pacer Junaid Zia was a surprise selection for Pakistan’s home ODI series against Bangladesh in September, when he took three wickets in four matches. The 19-year-old was also selected for the current one-day series against New Zealand but withdrew 24 hours later.

Junaid was in Pakistan’s under-19 World Cup squad last year but has only played six first-class games. His father had been widely expected to resign earlier this year following Pakistan’s poor World Cup performance.

Zia, a 57-year-old retired army general, said he was confident his son would be able to win a place in the team without accusations of nepotism following his resignation. “But let me make it clear my decision to step down was not an emotional one. I thought long and hard about it and consulted my family.”

Zia, in charge since November 1999, was the seventh PCB chief appointed in the past 11 years in a cricket-crazy country also known for frequent changes of captains, coaches and managers. He said he had recommended chief executive Rameez Raja as his successor.

Zia had offered to quit last year after Pakistan were bowled out for their lowest scores (53 and 59) in a Test match in Sharjah against Australia but Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the cricket board’s patron, asked him to carry on.

Zia’s sudden decision led to rumours like the actual reason being last week’s row between state-run PTV and the private channel GEO over rights to telecast the ongoing five-match ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand.

Saturday’s first match could not be telecast live as PTV declined to grant uplinking facilities to GEO which was granted the rights for $5 million by the Zia-led PCB.

The row was finally settled last night after the intervention of Gen. Musharraf, who asked both PTV and GEO to show the match.

Top Pakistan cricketers and coach Javed Miandad, however, appealed to President General Pervez Musharraf to reject Zia’s resignation saying his services would be needed ahead of the crucial tour of Indian team to Pakistan. (agencies)

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