KARACHI: The 2019-2023 Future Tours Programme (FTP) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been put on hold pending the case regarding the bilateral series between Pakistan and India which is to be decided by the world governing body’s dispute resolution committee, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said on Tuesday.

“The proceedings in the case have started. Recently, the ICC dispute resolution committee has asked for witnesses [in the case] from both the sides who were involved in signing the MoU [in 2014] for six bilateral series during the 2015-2023 cycle. From the Pakistan side, I am the witness. The very important thing is that the entire FTP [drafted late last year] has been put on hold due to this case. It is significant to recall that we signed the FTP subject to the outcome of the dispute,” Sethi said while talking to Dawn here at the National Stadium on Tuesday.

“Two aspects are crucial in this case. First, the dispute resolution committee is to decide whether or not India is liable [legally responsible] for not honouring the MoU signed with the PCB. Second, if it is decided that India is liable, then it has to be decided to what extent it is liable,” he added.

Karachiites urged to make PSL final a grand success

Responding to what impact the case will have on Pakistan’s participation in the 2018 Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in India during September, the PCB chief said the case – purely concerning bilateral series -- has no direct link with the Asia Cup.

Commenting on the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final, to be held at the National Stadium later this month, Sethi urged the Karachiites to make the big game a huge success.

“On March 25, Karachi and its cricket fans will be under the spotlight of world cricket. Therefore, I urge them to remain disciplined and show to the entire world that they are exemplary hosts and great sporting city as they have always been,” he said.

“On our part, the PCB is determined to stage the final here in the country’s biggest city, with the cooperation of Sindh government and law-enforcement agencies.”

Answering a question regarding the possibility of the PCB holding Pakistan’s ‘home’ series in Malaysia instead of the UAE, Sethi said the availability of all venues for the series in the UAE would be an important factor.

“We are scheduled to host Australia and New Zealand in the UAE [during October-November]. However, there is a possibility that Afghanistan’s T20 league, which is going to be launched in the UAE during the same time, may clash with these series, subsequently creating venue availability issues for us. Therefore, we are considering other avenues for organising our home series [as a back-up option],” he elaborated.

When reminded that despite the thunderous success of PSL, it is a matter of concern that the graph of Pakistan national team has gone down in both Tests and the ODIs, Sethi said, “After the PSL final, we are going to hold a comprehensive meeting aimed finding the shortcomings in our domestic cricket infrastructure and making it more competitive. All stakeholders including departments, regions and associations will feature in this meeting.”

Meanwhile, Sethi said there was a minor change in the schedule for West Indies team’s forthcoming tour to Pakistan for a three-match T20 International series.

“West Indies have confirmed that they will play three T20s in Pakistan. However, but there is a slight change in the schedule. Instead of March 29, 30 and April 1, they will now play the games on April 1, 2 and 4,” Sethi said.

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2018