PCB to push for T20 World Cup to be moved out of India in absence of visa assurance

Published February 19, 2021
Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ehsan Mani says the PCB has made its intentions clear to stakeholders on running cricket without India. — AFP/File
Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ehsan Mani says the PCB has made its intentions clear to stakeholders on running cricket without India. — AFP/File

Pakistan will push for this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be shifted to the United Arab Emirates if India doesn’t provide a written assurance that the national cricket team, its fans and journalists will be granted visas for the event, said Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani on Friday.

The PCB chairman was speaking to reporters at the PCB’s headquarters in Lahore when he stated the board had communicated these intentions to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

“There is a need to change the ‘Big Three’ mindset,” Mani said. “We are not seeking written assurance for the visas of the national team only, but for the fans, officials and journalists as well."

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) lures the other cricket boards through money," alleged Mani, adding that the PCB had made its intentions clear to stakeholders — within and outside the country — that "we plan to run our cricket without India.”

The PCB chairman said the board was hopeful that all of its cricketers would get vaccinated by the month of March and revealed that the upper brass was in contact with the National Command Operation Centre, which is coordinating Pakistan's coronavirus response.

He highlighted the board’s efforts of hosting international cricket — which saw tours from Zimbabwe for three ODIs and as many T20Is and South Africa for two Tests and three T20Is — and an entire domestic season despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mani revealed that the PCB did not seek the ICC’s assistance in the resumption of cricketing activities and played a crucial role in the resumption of the game in the post-Covid-19 world.

He lamented Cricket Australia’s decision to not send its men’s team to South Africa and said, “At the peak of the virus in England in the summer of 2020, the Pakistan men’s team toured England."

Had they — and the West Indies — not done so, it would have cost, according to him, "[the] England and Wales Cricket Board around 3.5 million pounds". "Similarly, had India not travelled to Australia it would have made Cricket Australia face heavy losses.”

Responding to a question about the Asia Cup, the PCB chairman said that Sri Lanka Cricket had created a window for the event, which would be held in the T20I format because of the T20 World Cup this year, in June, but it might get further postponed if India qualifies for the World Test Championship final in the same month in London.

Reflecting on the revamp of the domestic cricket structure that took place in August 2019 and has seen two seasons being played under it, Mani said it was important that this structure is given three to five years to flourish. He revealed that the interim committee at the Cricket Association level will be installed by next month.

He also expressed his desire that Wasim Khan, the chief executive of the PCB who is now in the last year of his tenure, will spend three more years on the job. “Wasim has played a crucial role in the complete resumption of international cricket in the country and I hope he will continue to serve Pakistan cricket for three more years,” said Mani.

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