KOLKATA: Pakistani cricket administrators do not think they are being hustled by their financially stronger Indian counterparts over a series that guarantees them much-needed revenue.But at the same time, they feel that if push comes to shove, they reserve the right to reciprocate.“I do not believe that BCCI is holding us to ransom,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan told Dawn, referring to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, which has threatened to cancel a scheduled tour.
“[But] If the BCCI does not honour its signature on the MoU, we reserve the right to respond appropriately,” Khan said in an email interaction with this reporter. He did not elaborate.The two boards signed an eight-year deal last year to play six series over 2015-2023, the first of which PCB will host in the UAE this December.
Since then, a senior BCCI office-bearer has ruled out cricketing ties on the ground that Pakistan was sponsoring terror groups in India. The Indian government, too, has not cleared the first series.In a related development, Indian wire service Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Khan as saying that the Pakistani board could seek compensation from the BCCI if it reneged on the MoU.
“We will suffer financial and other losses,” he said.“The series is an agreement but if it does not happen, it’s a reasonable thing to demand compensation.”
Khan made the statement while on a daylong visit to Kolkata on Thursday to pay homage to the late BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya.At the same time, the PCB chairman said BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur had responded to his queries regarding the issue, and that they would flesh it out next week on the sidelines of an ICC conference in Dubai.
“The final decision of course lies with the government of India,” he said.The first of the bilateral series is scheduled to be played in UAE from December, and comprises two Tests, five ODIs and two T20s.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ruled out any cricketing ties after armed gunmen in Army fatigues attacked a police outpost in July in India’s Punjab state killing three civilians and four policemen.
India says the militants entered the country through Pakistan.BJP parliamentarian Thakur – ironically the same person Khan will meet in Dubai next week – told webzine ESPNCricinfo that one “can’t expect to play a cricket series with Pakistan” against the backdrop of rising terrorism.“I was never against the dialogue process,” Thakur was quoted as saying. “At the same time, if you do not have good relations, you can’t have good cricket,”
He also took a potshot at Pakistan for allegedly hobnobbing with gangster Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in India in connection the 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed over 250 people.
“Dawood in Karachi,” Thakur tweeted on August 15. “Are you really serious about peace and you expect we’ll play cricket with you?”
“The basic and simple issue is the BCCI and PCB signed an MoU in which we have agreed to play six bilateral series over the next eight years,” he told Dawn.
“I feel that their [BCCI’s] request to await the new government’s green light is reasonable as the MoU was signed and approved by the former government,” Khan said.
He said “no one from BCCI has so far cancelled the visit”, but also warned that as time goes by the chances of holding the December series recede.
“The BCCI needs to clear the issue as early as possible, as time is running short,” Khan said.
But Khan also projected a brave face saying should the BCCI not keep its word, “we will not buckle under financial pressure and will certainly contain financial viability”.
“After all, we have survived for the past eight years without playing India at home.”