x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Search for successor to Mani at UAE cricket board will take time

It is understood, however, that a list of potential names has been drawn up and that one of them, possibly based in the UK, has been in touch with Mani to get an idea of the job.

Dilawar Mani has agreed to stay on till the Pakistan-Australia series starting later this month.
Dilawar Mani has agreed to stay on till the Pakistan-Australia series starting later this month.

ABU DHABI // The process for finding a new chief executive for the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to replace Dilawar Mani is underway but could take up to three more months, according to a director of the board.

Mani announced that he was stepping down as CEO - and executive director of the Abu Dhabi Cricket Club (ADCC) - at the end of June, after completing a three-year tenure and citing a desire to move on.

But he has agreed to stay on until a replacement is found, in the process also overseeing the series between Pakistan and Australia at the end of August.

"We are really at the beginning of the search so there has not been much progress yet," Omar Al Askari, a director of the board at the ECB, told The National.

"We're looking to find someone as soon as possible of course, but the process has been affected as first of all it is the summer months now and then it is Ramadan. Obviously the process is not going to take less than three months."

It is understood, however, that a list of potential names has been drawn up and that one of them - possibly based in the UK at present - has been in touch with Mani to get an idea of what the role entails and what the immediate challenges are.

Mani, understandably, was reluctant to comment on the process or who might be in the running to replace him.

"I am there till they find someone and the idea is they find someone immediately after the [Pakistan-Australia] series, or even before so I can do a handover with him," he said.

"I can't comment on any replacements yet."

Whoever does take over will have a difficult act to follow: "We have advisers that are working on this but I cannot give you a job definition right now," Al Askari said.

Mani's tenure has been an influential one after he became the board's first-ever chief executive once a new constitution was formed in 2009; primarily he has revived the UAE as a viable international cricket venue.

The security situation in Pakistan, which around the same time he was appointed meant international matches could not take place there, worked to his benefit as he sought to make the UAE a new home for the side.

In Mani's time, Pakistan has held six international series here, playing host to Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa and England.

But beyond international cricket – and this season is a relatively thin one as far as Pakistan's commitments go – he has also drawn the presence of English county and university sides, as well as making the UAE a first-choice venue for various ICC and Asian Cricket Council events.

This year, the UAE staged the World Twenty20 qualifiers and will do again next year; in 2014 it will also host the U19 World Cup.

At the local level, he also brought greater coherence to the infrastructure and development of the game.

Though the MCC-Zayed academy in Abu Dhabi was already running, it was better organised with greater facilities and grounds under Mani.

He also revived schools cricket in Abu Dhabi and ensured that club cricket thrived through the Emirates.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE