Future of India-Pakistan series will be finalised next month, says PCB
Former PCB chief Najam Sethi is confident that political issues between India and Pakistan will be sorted at the high-level meeting between the nation's officials in September and that the series will go ahead as scheduled in December.
Senior PCB official Najam Sethi said the fate of the Indo-Pak series scheduled for December this year will be finalised next month, IB Times reports. The 66-year-old is pinning his hopes on the two nations sorting out any issues at the likely meeting between the country’s top officials at the UN session in September.
Question marks began to surface over the future of the series after BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur claimed on the back of the Gurdaspur terrorist attacks in July that cricket and terrorism can’t go hand in hand. He reiterated his stand in a recent tweet suggesting that the contest was unlikely unless the political situation involving the two neighbouring countries improved.
PCB chief Shaharyar Khan also cast serious doubt on the series going ahead as scheduled saying on Sunday that the board had even started making alternate plans for that period.
"The series with India does not look possible now and it is a big loss for cricket but we will try although I do not think it will lead to anything. We have always said that politics and sports should be kept apart. But apparently India does not think this way," he said, as reported by Zee News. “We have to now seriously look at a Plan B for a series in December because we were supposed to host India in this period. We do not have many options but those we do we will work on them."
Sethi, Shaharyar Khan’s predecessor, however, claims that there is a good chance that the contest will go ahead as planned.
"I am not bothered by political statements coming from India or the fuss in the media around the series. I see it happening because they are highs and lows in Indo-Pak relations all the time and the situation is still not that serious to say there will be no cricket series in December," he said. “I think the situation will be much clearer in September when the prime ministers of both countries and the other officials of the foreign ministries are likely to meet on the sidelines on the UN session in New York."
According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two cricket boards in 2014, the neighbouring nations are set to do battle in five bilateral series over the next eight years. Sethi claimed that the Indo-Pak series was bigger than The Ashes and expressed confidence that the series will go ahead bringing in revenue a contest of such stature promises.
"There are millions of dollars involved in this MOU and we stand to gain a lot financially by hosting India in December. More importantly, the Indo-Pak series is even bigger than the Ashes in cricket and we need to remain cool and not panic and get worried that the series will not be held," Sethi said.