LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi on Monday said he was part of the majority which elected the suspended BCCI president N. Srinivasan as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at its annual gathering in Melbourne, Australia last week.
Addressing a crowded press conference here after his arrival from Melbourne, Sethi had a lot of good things to say about the tremendous gains and achievements made by Pakistan during the ICC meeting.
However, he was sufficiently grilled over the thorny issue of Pakistan supporting the tainted Indian official Srinivasan as new ICC chairman.
When asked how he saw the future of cricket with a controversial person like Srinivasan now elected as head of the world governing body, Sethi initially appeared a bit reluctant to offer any comment and simply replied: “I can’t say about Srinivasan’s election.”
‘We went with majority to elect Srinivasan as ICC chief’
However, when asked if he raised this point of Indian Supreme Court probing Srinivasan before electing him in Melbourne, Sethi said: “We were part of those who agreed on it (to elect Srinivasan). We elected him and we were part of the majority and it (India court case) would not create any problem whatsoever because Srinivasan has been elected for two years.”
Highlighting his achievements at the ICC meetings, the PCB chairman claimed Pakistan will receive a bumper amount estimated at $300 million (Rs30 billion) from the six Pakistan-India series which will be played in the next eight years, with Pakistan hosting four of them.
“We are estimating to earn Rs30 billion by hosting India in four series and that is the biggest news for Pakistan cricket,” he said.
The PCB chairman disclosed that while India were not willing to consider Pakistan as a possible venue for any of the series, he managed to pull it off by getting a certain term included in the agreement which says either Dubai or any other venue could be selected to host those series with mutual understanding.
However, Sethi admitted that as in the past, the governments of either side will have the final say in holding the series.
He added that a joint statement released from the BCCI and the PCB about the future series was a remarkable achievement by all counts and the decision had now been included in the ICC records as well.
Sethi, obviously delighted at the breakthrough, said the Indo-Pak series was a bigger event than the Ashes (Australia-England series) and the world also recognised that fact.
“The Indo-Pak series have great potential to attract spectators and the sponsors,” he said.
Elaborating further on the bilateral series, Sethi said Pakistan had signed the agreement to hold the series with India some six months back but the instability in the PCB threw a spanner in the whole affair.
“There was a possibility to hold the first series in the current year with India, but the instability (the Zaka Ashraf-Sethi tug of war) and Zaka’s stance on the Big Three issue delayed things.”
Sethi confirmed that Pakistan has been included as the fourth member of the newly-formed Executive Committee of the ICC for one year.
“Pakistan will be a key part of decision making at the ICC while the next president of the ICC in 2015 will be elected from Pakistan,” Sethi said proudly. “So, in the next two years Pakistan would be able to play an effective role at the ICC level.”
However, he clarified there was no Big Four status for Pakistan but the PCB would have a larger share in the ICC revenues.
“In the last seven years, the PCB had received $70 million from the ICC,” recalled Sethi. “But in the next eight years, it would get almost double, upto $150 million.”
In fact, the revenue will be increased for all four top members including India, Australia, England and Pakistan at the cost of cutting the share of smaller nations like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and a few others who, it appears, will end up as losers in their support for the Big Three formula.
Regarding the progress made on the front of banned young fast bowler fast bowler Mohammad Amir, Sethi said new rules were being finalised to give the bowler some concessions to his ban imposed on him in a spot fixing case.
He said the PCB had written a letter to the Supreme Court to give a final decision in its case against Zaka Ashraf as soon as possible because the PCB wants to attain stability as it had to take many important decisions to make in the coming days including awarding of the media rights for two ‘home’ series against Australia and New Zealand.
In the end, Sethi mentioned how several people at the ICC meeting discussed with him the negative role played by the Pakistani media against its players and PCB which was proving harmful to Pakistan cricket at international level.
Published in Dawn, July 1st , 2014