Planned Indo-Pak series in real danger: Shaharyar Khan

Karachi: Amid speculation over the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties, PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan yesterday admitted that the planned series between the two nations in UAE in December is in "real danger" and said that he plans to travel to India next month to discuss the issue.

Shaharyar Khan
Shaharyar Khan 

The former diplomat told a media conference in Lahore that he plans to meet with the BCCI hierarchy and other government officials to discuss the scheduled series. "There is a real danger at this time to the series. But I plan to go to India to get a clear answer on the prospects of the matches being held in December," Khan said.

He pointed out that the PCB was very keen to follow the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two boards to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2022 after the new governance system took place in the International Cricket Council. "I want to have frank discussions with the relevant officials in India because we can't delay preparations for too long and we need to know where we stand," he said.

Khan said the positive aspect of the whole episode was that so far the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was also ready to play the series but were waiting for a confirmation from their government. "BCCI is standing firm that they will respect the MoU signed with Pakistan, but they need permission from the
recently elected government," the PCB chief said.

Khan, who has remained a high commissioner in New Delhi and also foreign secretary also admitted that the present political relations between the two countries could have a bearing on the series. "I am doing everything to convince the governments to allow this series but the present political relations will have an influence and we don't know what the situation will be in the next six months," he said.

Khan pointed out that many former greats, the PCB and even the international cricket community were off the opinion that Pakistan and India should play regular bilateral cricket. "The PCB stance remains sports and politics should be kept apart." Khan said the PCB hoped that the BCCI will honour the MoU and there would be a green light from the Indian government soon for the series in December.

"If this does not happen it is not good for cricket overall." Shaharyar also talked about the Indian board having some reservations over the broadcasters of the series if it is held, with the Dubai based Ten Sports, which has a long term contract with the PCB for broadcasting international home matches. "We can't do anything about this issue because we placed an open tender and Ten Sports won the broadcasting rights.

But we have conveyed to our broadcasters our views about their alleged involvement in any rebel league and the bearing it could have on the existing contract." The PCB chief also said that during his stay in United Kingdom he had held some very productive talks with the officials of associate cricket boards. Teams of some associate nations are ready to visit Pakistan prior to the World T20 in India next year.

"In the next few weeks, we will finalise the plan of all the countries who will tour Pakistan who are willing to come stopover and play some matches on their way to the World Cup," he added. Khan also spoke about his interaction with the ICC task force on Pakistan cricket and said the Chairman of the committee Giles Clark had met him thrice and assured him he will bring an international eleven to the cricket-starved nation next year.

"Giles Clarke said the team will play at three venues including Karachi, Lahore and any other place where the PCB wants and he has now asked us about the dates and budget for the international team."

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