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No question of replacing Sarfraz as captain: Ehsan Mani

LAHORE: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has to play an effective role in ensuring bilateral series among all the cricket-playing countries and the Pakistan Cricket Board will raise its voice at the international forum for it.

“I have already talked about it, though informally, at the ICC level. But now I am in the PCB and I will raise it more effectively that the ICC should ensure the bilateral series among all the countries,” Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani told Dawn in an exclusive interview here.

 

“Look, if there is no bilateral cricket series between India and Pakistan, why do they play us in the ICC tournaments,” he asked.

It may be mentioned here that during Mani’s tenure as the ICC president, India visited Pakistan in 2004 after a yawning gap of 15 years and it was the first series played between the two arch-rivals after five years. And a couple of more series between Pakistan and India were played till 2007.

However, since the signing of an MoU in 2014 between the two boards to resume bilateral, India has constantly refused playing Pakistan, claiming the MoU is not a legal binding and the Indian government is not allowing the Indian team to play Pakistan on bilateral level.

‘ICC needs to ensure India play bilateral series with us’

The PCB had filed a case against BCCI in the ICC, demanding a compensation of US$69 million.

“Yes, the case is in ICC and both the countries have to accept its decision. Unfortunately, it has never happened in the history of the ICC that two cricket boards are fighting a case against each other. Had I been at the helm at the time of filing the case, I would have preferred to resolve the matter through negotiation,” he said.

“I played a key role as ICC president to resume Indo-Pak cricket in 2004 through dialogue and I also persuaded England to visit Zimbabwe after setting aside the political stance of their government about the situation in Zimbabwe at that time,” recalled Mani.

When reminded that the PCB had held the dialogue with BCCI before filing the case, Mani said the dialogue should have continued and it would have been wise to involve the governments of the two countries for a better solution of the problem.

Asked if he had a plan B if Pakistan loses the case in the ICC, Mani said: “My intention is not to beg for cricket and to talk with anyone on equal term. We are ready to play and we have to go with each other. But at the moment the BCCI is not in a position to take any decision due to its own elections and the general elections in the country. The current BCCI body is unaware what will happen after the elections”.

“Then we will talk and if we fail we will again raise voice in the ICC since its constitution has the clauses against government interference, but there have to be discussion over the nature of the interference,” he observed.