Karachi: Former ICC chief Ehsan Mani has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to not play India in the group games of ICC events if the arch-rivals don’t play the planned bilateral series in December. Mani, in an interview to PTI, said that Pakistan would have to show some teeth in order to put pressure on the ICC to intervene and also on India to play the bilateral series planned in the UAE.
“I think Pakistan would be within its right to refuse to be in the same group as India in any ICC event. Until now it is common knowledge that the ICC’s main revenues have been generated from scheduling a match between Pakistan and India in any ICC event in the group stage itself,” Mani said.
Mani said the last World Cup is an example of what he said and if Pakistan and India than meet up in a knockout match it means another financial boost for the ICC. “I think Pakistan should tell the ICC they should not be kept in the same group as India in any of the ICC events. If the two teams however meet up in a knockout match that is fine but just by refusing to be in the same group will mean a big financial setback for the ICC because Pakistan and India matches are the showpiece for any ICC event,” he said.
Mani said such a move would definitely put pressure on the ICC and also on the Indians. “Another step the Pakistan board can take to fight their case is to highlight the presence of so many politicians in the Indian cricket board when the ICC constitution clearly discourages interference of government or politicians in any home cricket board,” Mani added.
He noted that recent changes in the Indian board were backed by the ruling Indian government and this was no secret. “I think Pakistan needs to raise the issue whether the officials of the Indian board who are serving politicians are giving statements on Indo-Pak relations as politicians or just office bearers of the BCCI,” he said.
Mani made it clear that unless Pakistan took strong steps there was no way India would play them in December. “This clause that the Indian board must have clearance from their government to play Pakistan will always be used as an excuse to not revive Indo-Pak bilateral series,” he insisted.
The former ICC chief who was Pakistan’s representative and nominee in the world body said the PCB must take strong measures to get justice. “If you look at it this way Pakistan has lost lot of revenue because of India’s refusal to play them since 2007 in a bilateral series and it is hurting Pakistan cricket.”
He pointed out that Pakistan cricket was perfectly capable of surviving without playing India so they could take hard decisions. “If India does not play in December Pakistan should also ask the ICC board to review the entire arrangement and agreement made for the change in governance system in the ICC last year.”