Source AP ©

Pakistani president rejects resignation of cricket body's chief

Pakistan's president on Friday rejected the resignation of the chairman of the country's cricket board, Naseem Ashraf, a spokesman said.

Ashraf had submitted his resignation to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is also the patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, after the national team's failure at the World Cup, following a shock defeat against Ireland.

On Friday, board spokesman Aamir Bilal said Musharraf had asked Ashraf "to continue his duties to rebuild Pakistan's cricket team on modern and professional lines."

In a statement, Bilal also quoted Ashraf as saying he would do his best for the development and promotion of cricket in Pakistan.

Ashraf, the team's captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and other team members have been assailed by critics at home, who had been hoping for a repeat of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup triumph. Instead they failed to advance beyond the preliminary group stage of the tournament now underway in the West Indies.

Inzamam has since retired from one-day cricket.

A day after Pakistan lost to Ireland, coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in a hotel room. Police say it was murder, but have yet to identify any suspects. Ashraf has urged authorities in Jamaica to expedite their investigation.

Despite the welter of public criticism against Ashraf, during whose tenure the team's fortunes have only declined, former test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz on Friday welcomed Musharraf's decision to reject Ashraf's resignation.

"Ashraf is the right man to continue in the present scenario," Nawaz said.