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Smith calls time on Surrey stint SC orders new PCB ‘chairman’ election

ISLAMABAD, July 21, (Agencies): The Pakistan Supreme Court directed Najam Sethi on Monday to continue as the country’s cricket board chief for one week before an acting Pakistan Cricket Board chairman can be appointed to oversee new elections. Pakistani cricket has been embroiled in administrative turmoil for more than a year with three chairmen taking the helm in the past seven months. A two-member bench of the Supreme Court heard the case for five hours in Lahore on Monday after which judges Saqib Nisar and Anwar Zaheer Jamali directed the government to appoint an interim PCB chairman within seven days. The temporary chief will also act as election commissioner.

“The government will now follow the directions of the Supreme Court and will also implement the new constitution of the PCB,” Irfanullah Khan, a government legal adviser said. Sethi told the court that he would not be contesting the elections but said he could be part of the new governing board, which will be announced later. The Supreme Court has also asked the government to implement a new cricket board constitution. Khan said the Supreme Court also set aside an Islamabad High Court order to reinstate Zaka Ashraf as PCB chairman. The power tussle at the top of the PCB started in May 2013 soon after Ashraf became the first elected chairman of the PCB.

Ashraf was suspended by the Islamabad High Court after a petition was filed by a former official of the Rawalpindi Cricket Association. The court described his election process as “polluted.” The government appointed Sethi as interim PCB chairman before the IHC asked the country’s election commission to conduct elections while overruling all the decisions taken by Sethi. But Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also patron of the PCB, dissolved the governing board and appointed a five-member management committee that later elected Sethi as PCB chairman. But Ashraf continued to resist and he was twice reinstated by the IHC this year before being replaced by Sethi within days. Earlier this month, the government appointed a retired judge of the supreme court as interim PCB chairman, who will also act as election commissioner, but a day later the supreme court reinstated Sethi.
 
South Africa great Graeme Smith will not be returning to Surrey next season, the English county announced Sunday. The former Proteas captain, who was the London club’s skipper, played just three matches for Surrey last season because of an ankle injury and was ruled out for the rest of the ongoing campaign after fracturing his knee in May, subsequently undergoing surgery. Now doctors have told 33-year-old left-handed opener Smith, who retired from international cricket in March after 117 Tests, he will not be able to “fulfil the day-to-day duties of a full county season”, with both club and player agreeing to end his three-year stay at The Oval a year early.
 
“I thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of captaining Surrey but due to my injuries in 2013 and 2014 I have been unable to fulfil my role in achieving the goals that both Surrey and I set out to accomplish when I first arrived,” Smith told www.kiaoval.com. “I would like to thank Surrey for the way they have looked after me. “They have made me feel very welcome and it is very apparent that the current cricket management and personnel in the dressing room are already well on their way to achieving these goals. “I will continue to follow the club’s progress over the coming years.”
 
Smith played eight championship games in total for Surrey, scoring 383 runs including an innings of 103 against Gloucestershire at The Oval this year. Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart said: “On behalf of the club, and particularly the dressing room, I would like to thank Graeme for the impact he has had in the time that he was with us over the last two years. “As a person and leader his qualities have helped lay the foundations for the progress that we all want for the club,” the former England captain added. “We wish Graeme the very best in the next stage of his career and he will always be welcomed at the Kia Oval.”

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