KARACHI: Former Test spinner Iqbal Qasim on Monday called upon the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take a united stand against what he described India’s high-handed attitude which resulted in top Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar being stopped from officiating in the remainder of the current ODI series between India and South Africa.
In an interview with Dawn, Iqbal hit out at the lack of security for Pakistan Cricket Board’s topmost officials — chairman Shaharyar Mohammad Khan and executive committee chief Najam Sethi — who were due to meet BCCI president Shashank Manohar for the resumption of the bilateral series.
“I’m simply amazed in the prevailing volatile atmosphere in India, why was proper security not in place at Mumbai for the visit of PCB officials. And this was an official visit, which I think it was because the BCCI had officially invited Shaharyar Khan for meeting, then I’m staggered that suitable measures were not taken to prevent hoodlums creating a scene at the BCCI offices,” Iqbal said.
“I’m not saying that PCB officials should not have gone to India but given the sensitive relationship, proper security arrangements should have been the top priority on the list of BCCI officials. In the current scenario, the PCB officials shouldn’t be meeting the BCCI hierarchy in Delhi.”
Iqbal, who headed the national selection committee twice, urged upon the ICC to show its teeth in such matters related to its match officials and act without being partial.
“It seems the ICC is being dictated by India in every cricket-related matter. How could they ask a very senior and respected international umpire to leave India without completing his assignment?” Iqbal questioned.
“Just because Aleem is a Pakistani, the ICC has overreacted by swiftly making the move without realising the real impact of this abrupt decision. It is a clear indication that the ICC has no answer to India’s hegemony in world cricket.”
Iqbal echoed the words of former Pakistan captain and current ICC president Zaheer Abbas by fearing for the future of bilateral series with India.
“No doubt no series is bigger when Pakistan play India or vice versa. But we should not indulge in a policy of pleading with India to play with Pakistan. Definitely an India-Pakistan series is much bigger draw-card than the Ashes but we have to guard our dignity and self-respect. If India does not want to compete against us in a bilateral series then so be it,” Iqbal concluded.
Published in Dawn, October 20th , 2015