The PCB’s board of governors (BoG) has formally taken up the issue of dual roles causing potential conflicts of interest ahead of the Pakistan Super League. The BoG has agreed to chalk out a policy on engagement of PCB employees with PSL franchises.
In the 52th governing council meeting today, the issue came up for discussion officially, with a focus on national-team coaches who also work with PSL teams. The PCB has confirmed the development, but with the league starting in a week’s time, a final decision on the issue will have to wait until the next board meeting, with all appointments to be reviewed after PSL season ends on March 17.
Ever since Ehsan Mani took over as PCB chairman in September 2018, national-team coaches Mickey Arthur and Azhar Mahmood have come under the spotlight, with other high-profile names having to give up roles in the PSL.
Last year, the PCB removed chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq from the PSL player draft committee because of a potential conflict of interest since he was involved with a talent-hunt programme run by one of the tournament’s franchises, Lahore Qalandars. Tauseef Ahmed, who is part of the national selection committee while also being Islamabad United’s spin coach, was also left out of the PSL draft committee and later axed by the franchise.
Pakistan head coach Arthur and bowling coach Mahmood are both also part of the Karachi Kings coaching staff, which has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.
In 2016, Arthur was already Karachi Kings’ head coach when he took over the Pakistan role shortly after Waqar Younis’ resignation. Arthur, with then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, had negotiated a contract to allow him to fill both roles, foregoing his monthly PCB retainer during the duration of the PSL. When he renewed his contract as Pakistan coach until the 2019 World Cup, this agreement remained intact. Arthur has coached Karachi Kings in all three seasons of the PSL so far, and is set to do so again in the 2019 edition alongside bowling coach Mahmood.
PSL franchises haven’t raised the issue openly, but have hinted at concerns about having Arthur in both set-ups. “If you talk about me as a head coach, its challenging for a coach and selector within one set-up,” Aaqib Javed, the Lahore Qalandars head coach, told ESPNcricifo after the first season. “There is a reason why it’s been avoided and seen as awkward. I have great regard for Mickey but this should be avoided.”
ESPNcricinfo understands that Arthur has no vote in picking Pakistan’s squads, though the selectors take his inputs on board, but he does have a vote in selecting the final playing XI. “I see absolutely no conflict at all and in fact see it as a massive benefit because it allows me to see all the best young talent available,” Arthur said in 2016. “I certainly am professional enough not to in any way be biased in selections or opinions on any player because at he end of the day I am here to assist Pakistan cricket and make Pakistan cricket the best and I am not going to jeopardise that in any way.”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.