Shahryar Khan will struggle to solve problems with Pakistan cricket

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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have appointed Shahryar M. Khan as their new chairman, though it will be very difficult for him to have any kind of real impact.

Following yet another change at the helm, Khan says he aims to bring much-needed stability to Pakistani cricket.

Challenges ahead

Despite being unanimously elected having held the position once before, Khan’s second reign will be one of almost insurmountable challenges.

The side are still unable to play home matches because of terrorism threats, with Ireland cancelling a tour against them earlier this year.

The former diplomat was – perhaps unsurprisingly – the only candidate to apply for the role, replacing Najam Sethi, who had been acting chairman. Sethi had been installed by the Pakistan government while legal cases surrounding the PCB were being investigated.

Past failings

Regardless of the ease of his election, his track record as chairman of the PCB should not be overlooked. First appointed in 2003, he was in charge three years later when Pakistan were accused of ball-tampering against England at The Oval, and subsequently forfeited the match under the direction of then-captain Inzamam Ul-Haq.
Khan himself came under heavy fire for failing to discipline the players properly.

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Under the current circumstances, he will need to be far more authoritative if he is to alter the core problems that plague the PCB, and the game itself. They are facing difficulties almost on the same scale on the pitch, having already lost the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.

With the first ODI starting on Saturday, they are running out of time to gain form before the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand early next year.

Sri Lanka favourites

Sri Lanka will undoubtedly be favourites though, with Pakistan having struggled throughout the year. Other than a couple surprise victories against Australia and eventual finalists India in the ICC T20 World Cup, their only victories have come against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, and both in one-day cricket.

They will be without star spinner Saeej Ajmal going into the ODIs, as he heads to Australia for tests on his bowling action. Depending on how long the tests take, he could also miss the second game, but will be thankful he is free to play at all after umpires reported him following the first Sri Lanka Test in Galle.

The 36-year-old has taken 182 one-day wickets for his country, and his absence could prove a heavy blow.

The problems facing Pakistan cricket – and indeed the ones that have been facing them for almost a decade – strike at the very heart of the game, and will ultimately take far more than a new chairman to resolve.

While the PCB appear happy to let the merry-go-round of chairmen continue, the stability of the side is threatened – as are their results.

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