The Indian board has once again made it clear that political tension between the two countries need to stop before bilateral ties resume with Pakistan. The statement from Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) managing director Wasim Khan regarding the need to make India want to play Pakistan on the cricket pitch hasn’t gone down well with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“Once the conditions are right, no one will have any problem in the resumption of cricketing ties but that day seems to be a little far off. PCB chairman Ehsan Mani is liked and is very different from his last two predecessors — Shaharyar Khan and Najam Sethi — who had a chip stitched on their shoulders for whatever reason. But even Mani is constrained by the facts and circumstances. It all boils down to the political relations between the two countries and the end of hostilities,” he cleared.
Wasim speaking on India-Pakistan ties said: “We keep on asking them to play us but let’s create a situation where they ask us to play. I think we need to do that. It’s sad that we are not playing against them but life continues. We need to move forward and carry on. We can’t wait forever to play India. Our focus is to develop Pakistan cricket and get our team and players a lot of success at the international level.”
Reacting to that, another BCCI official said that Wasim needed to re-think the position of PCB before talking about bilateral ties.
“This Wasim Khan chap needs to understand that they should focus on their own stability first. As their own PM put it, there are small men occupying big positions in Pakistan and such statements emanate from such a syndrome,” he smiled.
The Indian board has time and again said that cricketing relations with the arch-rivals depend on the approval of the Indian government and they have no say in the matter. In fact, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently dismissed a complaint filed by PCB questioning the BCCI’s refusal to play bilateral series against them between 2015 and 2023 despite signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
As per claims by the Pakistan board, then BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had signed the ‘MoU’ between BCCI and PCB wherein the Indian and Pakistan cricket board had entered into an agreement that the two countries would play six series comprising at least two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is between December 2015 and December 2023 with four of them being hosted by the PCB. The move never went forward as the BCCI cited lack of approval from the Indian government.
The PCB had claimed losses of up to USD 70 million after two series weren’t played in November 2014 and December 2015. While the PCB tried to move the ball through talks, the BCCI made it clear that the government had the final say in this matter. PCB then sent a dispute notice to the Indian board in May and to the ICC in November.
Herbert Smith Freehills along with British lawyer QC Ian Mills fought India’s case while PCB was represented by Khwaja Ahmad Hosain, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Alexandros Panayides of Clifford Chance, London and Salman Nasser, PCB GM Legal Affairs. The ICC Disputes Panel was made up of three members — Michael Beloff QC, Jan Paulsson and Dr Annabelle Bennett.