The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Imran's cousin approached to be manager

Calcutta: Back in 1999, Nawaz Sharif made his best cricket move by getting the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to appoint Shaharyar Khan as manager for the tour of India.

The then Prime Minister (rightly) felt that a former diplomat was needed to handle off-the-field affairs in what actually was a revival tour.

Shaharyar didn't disappoint Sharif.

Six years on, though, when Shaharyar is himself the PCB chairman, he seems to be in a spot of bother over appointing the manager for the latest tour.

Incumbent Haroon Rashid has to be sidelined as President Pervez Musharraf, also the PCB patron, wants somebody high-profile (preferably a current or retired government officer) as the tour is going to be significant on more than one front.

Rashid's removal, however, could create a major problem as coach Bob Woolmer has been using him as a channel for communicating with those players who aren't at all comfortable with English.

Only, right now, that probably isn't a priority with the PCB.

Unlike in 1999, when the Wasim Akram-led team visited India twice (for three Tests and, then, a tri-series), the forthcoming seven-week tour will feature both forms of the game.

According to The Telegraph'ssources in Lahore and Karachi, Shaharyar has approached Moin Afzal, a former finance secretary, and Asad Jahangir, a highly-ranked police officer, but both apparently haven't responded too enthusiastically.

Jahangir, incidentally, is former captain (and PCB chief executive) Majid Khan's elder brother and Imran Khan's first-cousin.

'Neither has said 'yes', but it's possible that one of them may eventually be persuaded to wear the hat once worn by Shaharyar,' observed a source when contacted on Saturday evening.

Given that the tour is going to begin around February 25, the appointment could be put on hold.

Meanwhile, six months after Rameez Raja's resignation as chief executive, the PCB has abolished the post held by the former captain for about 16 months.

Instead, two directors have been appointed to handle cricket and non-cricket matters: Former quick Saleem Altaf will be the director, cricket operations, while Abbas Zaidi has moved up as the director, Board operations.

The appointments have Musharraf's approval. It's not clear, though, whether the patron himself suggested that Altaf and Zaidi get key posts.

Best remembered for a brilliant spell at Headingley in 1971, Altaf played the last of his 21 Tests in Lahore, against India, during revival tour No.1 ' 1978-79.

Effectively the PCB secretary, Altaf is going to represent the body at both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Asian Cricket Council.

[Altaf is also on the latest ad-hoc committee, which has four other members, an agency has reported from Islamabad.]

However, next week's ICC meeting in Melbourne will be attended by Zakir Khan, the general manager (cricket operations) currently on a venue inspection tour of India.

Altaf, clearly, isn't going to assume office overnight.

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