PCB 'can survive' without playing India | The Daily Star
07:43 PM, August 28, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:49 PM, August 28, 2015

PCB 'can survive' without playing India: Shaharyar Khan

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has said Pakistan 'can survive' without playing cricket against India but hoped the BCCI would adhere to the MOU between the boards and improve the prospects of bilateral series in the future.

"Given the present circumstance, the chances of a Pakistan-India series look bleak and we have to live with the fact that India are not going to play us," Shaharyar told ESPNcricinfo.

"At the same time the BCCI hasn't formally refused us, but we can't wait long amid this uncertainty and have got to have an alternative plan. We will wait for another couple of months before forcing our plan B.”

"I hope the climate will improve but at the moment it's more a political tension … the relationship between the countries is complex but cricket shouldn't be suffering, it is after all something that can be a tool to lower the tension."

The BCCI had signed an MOU to play Pakistan in six series between 2015 and 2023, with the first to be hosted by the PCB in the UAE in December.

As it has often done in the past - India and Pakistan did not play for 17 years because of the wars in 1965 and 71 - the strained political relationship between the countries put the series in doubt.

The last full series was in 2007, when Pakistan toured India.

Bilateral ties between the two countries were snapped after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 until a limited-overs series was played in 2012-13, though India and Pakistan have faced each other in international tournaments.

India's refusal to play Pakistan in recent years has cost the PCB over $80 million in terms of broadcasting and other commercial deals.

"We understand the BCCI is financially very sound and we are the ones who have suffered a lot in all this," Shaharyar said.

 "It's not that we can't survive without playing them. We are surviving, and can survive, but our position is that the game shouldn't be mixed up with the politics. So we are trying to get the series revived based on the MOU they have signed with us. They have to honour it and if they don't it's their responsibility."

Another divisive issue in the PCB is that there are two people seen to be running the board - Shaharyar and Najam Sethi.

The executive committee is led by Sethi and includes the board's chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed and chief financial officer Badar Khan.

It was formed in line with new ICC guidelines, and though its role was not defined in the PCB's constitution, the committee is understood to be holding the majority of power in the board.

Two power centers in the PCB, and friction between new and old officials, are major concerns.

The proposed Pakistan Super League has exacerbated the issue because it has a different team of employees.

Sethi was removed as the PCB's interim chairman by the courts - he had to give an undertaking that he would not contest elections for chairman, only then did the legal feud with Zaka Ashraf end - but later the country's Prime Minister installed him as a direct nominee in the governing board.

He then became the head of the three-man executive committee.

"There is no division in the board," Shaharyar said, when asked about Sethi's role in the PCB.

"He is the nominee of the Patron of the Board and heads the executive committee. I am the chairman and all the decisions are taken by me and it's my discretion to approve or not to approve.”

“There is no interference politically and I don't think that the Prime Minister or any other minister is trying to dictate to the Board. We are working independently.”

"He [Najam] has his own views and I respect them but we are all on the same line. I am an elected chairman and that is one important thing. If I am elected, naturally the weight of my position is much higher than being a nominee."

Pakistan's domestic cricket structure has been a major talking point because of its inconsistent format over the years.

The change this year is the third in the last four years, but according to Shaharyar the latest change is best for the long term.

"Basically the idea is to reduce the number of teams … you got to understand that 24 teams in domestic cricket is too many," he said.

"The number is higher than in other cricketing playing countries. So there was a strong feeling that this pattern was lowering the standard in domestic cricket with teams not being able to be a proper feeder to the national team."

Though Shaharyar was optimistic about the latest format he feared the board may alter it in the future.

"We have discussed with every stakeholder of the game and almost every one decided in favour of 16-team format. This format is locked down for next three years until this present governing board is in house. I don't know what is going to be done after me but I can assure that we have finally found a format, which I think is the right formula."

It's been five years since the spot-fixing controversy during the 2010 tour of England - Salman Butt, Mohammd Asif and Mohammad Amir were only recently allowed to return to competitive cricket by the ICC.

However, Shaharyar said corruption was still a danger to Pakistan cricket.

"It's not entirely eradicated but we are very vigilant about it. We have maintained zero tolerance towards the corruption and we will not afford to have another such incident again."


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