The PCB confirmed on Thursday that Shaharyar Khan had received a letter from the Indian cricket board’s chief
KARACHI: The Indian cricket board regrets the October 19 incident in Mumbai, where talks to revive cricketing ties between Pakistan and India were rudely disrupted.
Activists of the far-right political party Shiv Sena had stormed the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and threatened BCCI President Shashank Manohar and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan with dire consequences if the two discussed cricket.
The PCB delegates – which included Khan, former chairman Najam Sethi and Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmed – were treated as unwelcome guests by the Shiv Sena, forcing the two countries to put off not just the Pakistan-India cricket series scheduled for December but any discussion about it for the foreseeable future.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had reacted strongly over the mistreatment and warned that if all the doors on the bilateral series were to be closed, then the PCB might pull out of the World Twenty20 tournament scheduled to be held in India next year.
The PCB chairman had lamented that the BCCI officials had not fulfilled the obligations of being proper hosts and that he was left on his own in India.
The BCCI has finally expressed regret over the entire incident. The PCB confirmed on Thursday that Shaharyar Khan had received a letter from the Indian cricket board’s chief.
“Manohar has expressed his sincere regrets over the cancellation of the meeting between the officials of the two cricket boards,” read the PCB’s statement. “Under pressure from extremist elements, the BCCI had cancelled its meeting with PCB officials.” The Pakistani cricket board said the BCCI had “officially approached the Indian government to obtain definitive guidance on the Pakistan-India series”.
The PCB maintains that sports and politics should not be mixed, and hopes that the BCCI would not be held hostage by extremist elements who wish to sabotage bilateral cricket ties.
The series scheduled to be held in the UAE at the end of the year is part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two cricket boards.
Former cricketer and junior chief selector Basit Ali said that the PCB should maintain pressure on the BCCI. “If we maintain the pressure we’ve put, then I am 100 per cent sure that this series will happen. Shaharyar has played his cards well after they were mistreated in India.”
He said the return of Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar and others, including former bowling stars Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, had painted India as a villain. “Pakistan has gained from the situation. I feel that ultimately we’ll see the Pakistan-India series happen.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.