No India-Pak bilateral cricket till political relations normalise: PCB chairman

New Delhi, September 13

Discussions on resuming bilateral cricket exchanges between India and Pakistan can not begin between the boards until political relations between the 2 nations turn into regular and steady, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has stated.

He additionally made it clear that he wouldn’t request the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly to let Pakistani gamers compete within the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Over the years, the PCB has had a number of discussions with the BCCI regarding bilateral cricket. Whether it is T20 cricket or bilateral, all things are in the hands of the BCCI. At this moment I don’t have any intention of playing any T20 league with India. First, they have to sort out the bilateral (political) relations with us, and then we will talk,” Mani (75) instructed IANS in an unique interview.

India has not performed a Test collection in Pakistan for greater than 14 years and Pakistan has not visited India for nearly eight years, although they’ve performed in opposition to one another within the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) occasions just like the World Cup and the Champions Trophy all these years.

And the one time Pakistani gamers appeared within the IPL was in its opening version in 2008, when 11 cricketers represented varied franchises. Left-arm speedster Sohail Tavir gained the Purple Cup for capturing most wickets — 22 wickets within the 11 matches — for champions Rajasthan Royals.

“I am not talking to the BCCI about bilateral cricket. It is up to them to speak to us if they have something to say. The ICC (International Cricket Council) constitution says there should be no government interference. So, I think ICC should be talking to them [BCCI],” Mani, a former ICC president, stated, referring to the obligatory permission that BCCI that has to take from the Indian authorities to play in opposition to Pakistan.

Mani, nevertheless, fondly recalled the harmonious relations between the BCCI and the PCB within the 1990s, when he, because the PCB consultant, interacted with Madhavrao Scindia and Jagmohan Dalmiya, who dominated each the BCCI and the Asian Cricket Council.

“I had enough discussions with Mr Dalmiya; not just him but with Mr Sharad Pawar and going back to the time of Mr Madhavrao Scindia. We have had very, very good and open relations with the BCCI. Over the last 12 years, I find the relationship is not what it used to be. There has to be trust and openness on both sides — and honesty in dealing with each other,” he emphasised.

“To find that the relationship was not what it used to be, I was surprised and disappointed when I came back (as PCB chairman in August 2018). A lot of improvement can be done on this. We could talk to anybody (in normal times) but it takes two hands to clap,” Mani, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales), stated.

The 13th version of the IPL is ready to start out on September 19 within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Like in earlier years, no Pakistani participant might be a part of it, although a number of Pakistanis have every so often expressed their need to play on the planet’s most profitable cricket match.

Has Mani broached this concern with any of the BCCI officers since taking on as PCB chairman? “No, not at all. This is very much a matter for the BCCI. But unfortunately, it’s not in their hands either. We don’t have that issue in Pakistan,” he stated.

Mani additionally stated he has to date not met Ganguly, although they’ve spoken on the cellphone a few instances and attended digital ICC conferences collectively.

On the difficulty of organising the IPL within the UAE within the instances of COVID-19 pandemic, Mani felt it was “very much for the BCCI” to determine.

“I would have thought that every IPL team served self-isolation in India before going to the UAE and went into self-isolation there as well, so that they were sure that they did not slip. But I don’t know what the BCCI has done and what the requirements are. I can’t really comment on that,” he averred.

“I can tell you that when we went to England recently, those who returned positive COVID results were not allowed to travel,” Mani identified, referring to the Pakistani group’s bilateral Test and T20 collection in England.

All eight IPL groups at the moment are within the UAE. But there was an enormous scare when 13 gamers or personnel of the Chennai Super Kings examined constructive for COVID-19 lately. Since then issues have calmed down with the match schedule being introduced.

Does Mani suppose the pandemic would influence IPL? “There are two aspects. First was that it was very natural as a player to face something that you fear. And you can’t force anyone to anything. Then, the viability factor will be another challenge that some countries and teams will face (due to the pandemic). With the IPL, it is their call on how they cope with it. It’s not an easy situation. It needs the support of the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board, and also, they have to follow the guidelines of the UAE government on this. This will change from day to day,” he stated, wanting into the longer term.

Mani, a former left-arm pacer, felt it was “impossible to suggest” when the pandemic would finish. “We have different types of issues in different countries. Among the cricket playing countries, New Zealand has been the best with a very low number of cases. My concern at the moment is the sub-continent. In Pakistan, it is largely under control. But India has the biggest rise in world cricket and there is a big spike there. So, it will be impossible to resume cricket in the short term. That is a big concern. No doubt that till December-January it would be a big challenge for all the cricket boards,” he stated. IANS

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