With the ICC recently rejecting a proposal by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a four-nation T20 tournament featuring India and Pakistan, former PCB chief Ehsan Mani has asserted that Pakistan should stop pursuing the BCCI for tournaments with India.
Commenting on bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations, which have been on hold for more than a decade now due to political tensions, Mani said, “I always made it clear that if they [India] want to play, they will come and play Pakistan.”
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“I never said no but I’ve always maintained that we have our own integrity, our honour. Why should we run behind India? We should not. When they will be ready, only then we will be ready too,” the 77-year-old added, speaking to Cricket Pakistan.
His successor, Ramiz Raja, who was appointed as the PCB chief last September, appears to share a different viewpoint.
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Raja has long been vocal about the resumption of cricketing relations between the two countries, and it was he who floated the PCB’s proposal for a four-nation T20 tournament that was rejected by the ICC last month due to issues with scheduling.
Raja has also called for India-Pakistan tournaments outside of ICC events, especially in light of the record ticket sales for the India vs Pakistan fixture in Melbourne at this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
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“Whenever I talk about India and Pakistan, it’s not always as the chairman of a Cricket Board. But it’s the cricketer that comes out. And as a cricketer, I’ll say that politics can be set aside because why should the fans not enjoy India-Pakistan games. The numbers and the figures are there for everyone to see why it is still the best competition in the world. And somehow, we’ve got to make it happen,” the PCB chief told Indian Express.
Politics has indeed hampered what has always been an explosive cricket tie historically: after years of competition, India and Pakistan played their last bilateral tournament in 2012/13, when Pakistan toured India for a three-ODI series. Since then, the two nations have only faced each other in ICC events.