Former chief selector Iqbal Qasim, who played 10 Tests for Pakistan in India, has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to step in and play an active role in the talks for a Pakistan-India bilateral series as tensions soared to new heights.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) delegation — which included chairman Shaharyar Khan, executive committee head Najam Sethi and chief operating officer Subhan Ahmad — was scheduled to meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar and other officials to talk on several issues, with the bilateral series being top of the agenda.
However, Shiv Sena protestors barged into the BCCI headquarters at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and demanded that the PCB officials return to Pakistan.
“It is high time that ICC steps in and plays an effective role in the resumption of bilateral series between Pakistan and India, because now it can’t just stand back and play the monitoring role anymore,” Qasim told The Express Tribune. “The PCB has done whatever it can. An MoU was signed between the two boards and that should be fulfilled.”
ICC withdraws Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from India-South Africa series
The sides last played a bilateral series in 2012-13 when Pakistan travelled to India to play two T20Is and three ODIs.
The BCCI had signed on MoU to play six series with Pakistan between 2015-2023, with four being hosted by Pakistan and two by India when Pakistan supported the ICC’s shift to the Big Three.
The first of the six series was to be played in December but concrete talks are yet to place between the two boards.
Qasim also felt that PCB officials should not sacrifice their self-respect in their attempt to persuade the BCCI as sports are now being used a battle weapon by the Indians. “The Indian government is using sports as a battle tool,” he said. “There have been several incidents in the past where they have deprived Pakistan in sporting events.”
However, the 62-year-old praised the current PCB chairman for his attempts at improving cricketing ties between the two countries. “All credit to Shaharyar for his sincere efforts but we can’t sacrifice our self-respect either.”
Pakistan cricket fraternity slams Shiv Sena protest, demand ICC action
Meanwhile, former skipper Rashid Latif was also left frustrated by India and ICC’s behaviour, saying that if India can’t honour its commitment of playing with Pakistan, then the Men in Green should boycott playing against their arch-rivals in the upcoming World T20 as well.
“When the Indian government and the BCCI don’t want to let India play against Pakistan, then Pakistan should avoid playing against India in ICC events as well,” said the 47-year-old. “We need to have the courage to say no to India in the upcoming World T20.”
The former wicketkeeper, who played just one ODI for Pakistan in India was also critical of the ICC. “The ICC is a dummy council and nothing else,” he said. “If they have withdrawn umpire Aleem Dar from the series on security reasons, they must withdraw Pakistan from the World T20 as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2015.
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