Ehsan Mani newly elected Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board
The 73-year old, newly elected Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ehsan Mani, takes over the hot seat with a great many challenges, to restore Pakistan’s standing in international cricket.
Given his accomplishments as a Chartered Accountant in business management, banking and real estate and a portfolio featuring the International Cricket Council (ICC) Presidentship, Mani was the first and most obvious choice of Imran Khan, the great all-rounder and now Prime Minister of Pakistan and indeed Patron-in-Chief of PCB. But there is little doubt, both in and outside Pakistan, that no other individual could claim to be better suited to the job. Keeping a low profile has been his style and in the times like present, he will do Pakistan cricket no harm by continuing in the same way.
The last decade has seen inept leadership at the helms of cricket affairs in the country and despite the best intention have only made marginal progress in terms of Pakistan hosting international teams. Pakistan cricket, it must be said, will require visionary leadership to have any hope of bringing Test cricket to their grounds, with last five-day international fixture dating back to March 2009. Mani on his first day of the three-year tenure has set the tone by outlining his priorities which include settling legal disputes with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) through ICC dispute committee and perhaps the greatest challenge of fixing Pakistan domestic cricket. The now well established brand of Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to receive further boost with his highly acclaimed business acumen. Merit-based appointments in PCB, which are on the cards in Naya Pakistan, will surely represent a new dawn and a far more accountable, transparent and professional administration set-up.
Born in Rawalpindi, Punjab (British India) on 23rd March, 1945, Mani did his Senior Cambridge at St Mary’s School, Rawalpindi and enrolled in Government College, Lahore before moving to England in 1965. Not surprisingly, he was unable to take his club cricket (1959-65) any further as a right-hand batsman and left-arm pace bowler, once he had set sights on his career.Mani worked as an Article Clark (1965-70) and Manager (1970-72) in the period he qualified as Chartered Accountant. He was a Director of Associated Shipping Services and manged to sell his share before the slump in cargo shipping.
Whilst based in London, Mani represented Pakistan in the ICC annual meeting for the first time in 1989, a role re continued till 2002. He was a leading man in the distribution of finances during the 1995-96 World Cup held in the sub-continent. For the 1996 Cricket World Cup, he was on the advisory committee as the PCB representative. Later he played his hand in holding the Sahara Cup between India and Pakistan for three years from (1996-98). In 1996, he was elected by the ICC member nations to the position of Chairman of the ICC Finance and Marketing Committee. He held on to this post until it was dissolved in June 2002. After that he took over as the Vice-President of the ICC Executive Board.
Until 1983 he was also a financial advisor to Asif Iqbal and in ICC has had first hand experience of working alongside Colin Cowdrey and Clyde Walcott, as the Chairman's Advisory Committee, in their stints as ICC President before himself succeeding Malcom Gray in that very role in July 2003. During his term as ICC President the ICC entered into partnership with the United Nations to promote awareness of AIDS and HIV through cricket. The ICC undertook a number of fund raising initiatives for the victims of the Asian Tsunami and for emergency relief work following the earthquake in Pakistan in 2005; over $17 million was raised. He was keen to market the game in USA, Canada and China but could only claim moderate success. He signed an agreement worth £328 million ($550 million) on behalf of ICC for TV and marketing rights until 2007.
During his Presidency international Women’s cricket was integrated with the ICC. The membership of the organisation was greatly increased and countries which have no tradition of the game such as Indonesia, Slovenia and China were admitted as members. He travelled extensively to member countries and took a personal interest in grass roots development of the game in under privileged societies. He oversaw the move of the ICC from Lord’s cricket ground in London to Dubai and the setting up of the ICC global cricket academy, of which he was the chairman over 5 years. During his term as ICC President the ICC launched its Annual Awards ceremony and set up the ICC Hall of Fame.
Mani is on the board of a number of UK companies mostly banking and real-estate. He is also the chairman of Galiyat Development Authority (KP), member of board of governers of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust and member of board of directors of Biafo Industries Ltd in Pakistan. He is also trustee of a number of charities in UK and Pakistan. Mani has been a consultant to Dubai Sports City, with his brother Dilwar Mani, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Cricket Board. He remains on the Board of Trustees of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital since December 2011. Apart from his passion of cricket Mani also manages time for walking, reading, skiing, fishing. Married with four daughters, he divides his time between London, Islamabad and Doonga Gari, his ancestral base.
As a well-known figure on the international cricket, Mani brings with him a great wealth of experience of almost three decades, in the game. There was no opposition amongst PCB's Board of Governors which should allow him to have a free hand in all the major decisions of Pakistan cricket. His calm, assured, articulate ways, down-to-earth demeanour and professionalism is set to bring a change in the working culture of PCB.
© Cricket World