Lahore: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has said the chances of a bilateral series with India taking place later this year were highly unlikely.
The PCB were scheduled to host India in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the collapse of the talks between the National Security Advisors of the two countries and continuing tension on the border has put it under a cloud.
Newly-appointed International Cricket Council (ICC) president Zaheer Abbas had said earlier this week that the PCB should show flexibility and must be willing to play the series in India in order to ensure the revival of cricketing ties.
But Shaharyar Khan has rejected Abbas’s proposal, saying that the PCB will wait for a final reply from the BCCI till October.
“We will not go to India to play our bilateral series there and I’m writing a letter to the BCCI to clear our stance and we will wait for their reply till October,” the PCB chief was quoted by Dawn on Wednesday as saying.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur had tweeted last Saturday that there will be no revival of cricketing relations if Pakistan harbours Dawood Ibrahim and insists on a dialogue with Kashmiri separatist leaders.
Dawood in Karachi. NSA wants to meet separatists here. Are you really serious about peace and you expect we’ll play cricket with you?
— Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) August 22, 2015
The PCB and the BCCI had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year, which states that the two nations will play six bilateral series over the next eight years.
The PCB was scheduled to host the first one in the UAE in December, but the Indian government has not allowed the BCCI to confirm participation, citing political reasons.
Shaharyar Khan expressed his disappointment with India’s stand and said that if the series is cancelled, it will be a financial setback for the PCB.
“It seems they don’t want to play a bilateral series as they are raising political issues while the PCB believes that sports should not be mixed with politics,” the PCB chief said.
“India shouldn’t mix politics with sport. Cricket is a source of great entertainment for the people of the two countries and the series between the arch-rivals is bigger than the Ashes,” he added.
Shaharyar Khan stated that the PCB have prepared an alternative plan which will be implemented once the the BCCI reveal their final decision. However, he added that the plan is not related to any cricketing activity.