Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan has revealed that the national team may boycott the 2016 World Twenty20 if their proposed series against India doesn’t go ahead in December.
Khan and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Shashank Manohar were scheduled to meet each other in Mumbai last week, but the talks were cancelled due to anti-Pakistan protests from the Shiv Sena, a regional political party.
Khan is aware of the repercussions of withdrawing from an International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament, but believes that the security situation in India is not safe enough for the Pakistan team.
“My own feeling is that we will have to go to our government and talk to them about the situation,” Khan told reporters. “What I feel is that the government will say ‘do not go to an ICC tournament in India’. That is what I sense because of the uncertain situation for a Pakistani in India. You have seen the situation there. In this environment, how can we say? We will not have security enough there.
“Maybe the ICC would say ‘you have forfeited the matches’ and that’s fine, we will forfeit the matches. But the decisions will only be taken when the doors [on the bilateral series] are finally closed. To me, the possibility of an Indo-Pak series is close to over.
“There are two points in that. First, all doors [to the resumption of bilateral ties] have to be closed. We will then decide on the matter in one week or so. India hasn’t confirmed or said anything, but are delaying it. We will have to decide that this series cannot happen, and after that we will decide what our policy is.”
The PCB chairman also revealed that the BCCI “did not care” to reschedule the meeting after the protests, which left him stranded for almost 36 hours.
However, the head of the PCB’s executive committee Najam Sethi contradicted Khan’s comments, saying that the BCCI was in contact with the PCB “at every stage”.
“Shaharyar Khan thought Shashank Manohar would phone him, but he did not call him [after the cancellation],” Sethi said.”I shouldn’t say it, and Shaharyar has also not revealed it, but when we were in the hotel, Manohar was communicating with us through his wife [who was] sitting in the same room as Shaharyar’s wife. At every stage, we knew what was happening. We were told [by the BCCI] that they will stay in touch after the meeting was cancelled.”
Khan denied Sethi’s claims even though he admitted that his wife had spoken with Manohar’s wife.
“We didn’t go there to beg. We went to talk about cricket,” Shaharyar said. “It started from the ICC meeting in Dubai, where the BCCI president invited us to Mumbai because they were also interested in reviving the ties. There is a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both of us to play a cricket series, and we want to make sure it’s happening. We need time to arrange it, and that is the reason we want to talk.”