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Cricket: Sethi restored as Pakistan cricket crisis deepens

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday restored Najam Sethi as the country's cricket chief, a day after he was deposed by the government, in a fresh twist to a long-running administrative crisis.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday restored Najam Sethi as the country's cricket chief, a day after he was deposed by the government, in a fresh twist to a long-running administrative crisis.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), had ousted veteran journalist Sethi and appointed a former high court judge as interim chief, directing him to hold elections for the chairmanship within 30 days.

But the Supreme Court set aside the premier's orders, a court statement said -- the latest round in a bruising 15-month battle to lead the PCB.

A series of court cases and government decrees have seen the PCB chairmanship change hands between Sethi and Zaka Ashraf five times since May last year.

Ashraf, who first took the job in October 2011, was suspended by Islamabad High Court in May last year after he tried to extend his tenure by getting himself elected in a process termed "dubious" by the court.

Since then Ashraf was restored twice by an appeal bench of the Islamabad court -- in January and May this year.

His second restoration was challenged by Sethi in the Supreme Court, which on May 21 reinstated Sethi.

The Supreme Court was unhappy about Sharif's decision to include Sethi in a 12-member governing board, widely seen as an attempt by the government to get him elected in the next 30 days.

Retired judge Jamshed Ali Shah became the 29th PCB chairman in the country's 66-year history but his tenure lasted for just one day.

Sethi insisted he had no intention of staying in the job long-term.

"I have no desire to hold onto the post but would like to complete the tasks handed to me by the prime minister," Sethi told reporters outside the court.

"The court considered my point of view and has allowed me to continue in my role until the matter is finally settled."

The latest twist adds to an at times baffling saga in Pakistan's cricket administration which critics say have made it a laughing stock.

The PCB chief was traditionally appointed by the ruling party of the day, a practice widely criticised over the years and frowned on by the International Cricket Council.

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