The PCB has long been persistent about playing bilateral cricket against India again but its newly appointed managing director believes there is very little hope of that happening. At least, not in the near future. Wasim Khan met reporters in Lahore for the first time since taking up his new role and said that while the board was trying all it could, it may be time for a new strategy.
“It’s a massive challenge,” he said. “And I don’t think we’re going to see any solutions anytime soon. I think elections are going on in India, so nothing is going to happen in near future. But, we are trying and [PCB chairman] Ehsan [Mani] is trying hard to get them to the table and get this moving but we got to have pride in our country.
“We keep on asking them to play us but let’s create a situation where they ask us to play. I think we need to do that. It’s sad that we are not playing against them but life continues and world goes on. We need to move forward and carry on. We can’t wait forever to play India. Our focus is to develop Pakistan cricket and get our team and players success at international level.”
Since 2009, the PCB has been pushing the BCCI for more matches between the two countries regardless of the political tension between them. It began during the Zaka Ashraf regime and reached its end during Najam Sethi’s, when the ICC rejected the case he filed against the BCCI for dishonouring an agreement to play seven bilateral series between 2014 and 2023. A dispute resolution committee in November 2018 ruled that the agreement only counted as a “moral obligation” and not a legal one.
The chairman Mani stood by Wasim’s views on India-Pakistan cricket. “Until it’s not done (elections in India) there is no avail of engaging them at this stage because we have to start over with new people in BCCI,” Mani said. “But our relation with Indian board is very good and we have a mutual respect but we won’t be imploring them to play us. If we will take Pakistan cricket to a level where we are among the best top three teams in the world, they will come on their own to play us.
“I get a lot of messages from Indian journalists and public about their wish to play against Pakistan. Unfortunately, politics sneaks in which I don’t believe sports should ever be mixed up with. But it happens in our environment, especially in India it’s a lot. But I understand when they are done with elections their attitude will get right too.”
The PCB has focused inwards for now and Wasim has been charged with revamping Pakistan’s domestic cricket, which has often been cited as a reason for the team’s inconsistent performance.
“We need to get the consistency, sustainability so we are looking at our internal affairs and those things which are not in our control,” Wasim said. “Everything will be done but for now let’s focus our domestic cricket right and make our grassroot stronger than ever and make our international team more sustainable in near future so that they are successful at all levels.”
The ultimate power in the PCB remains with the chairman but there is work being done to increase the power available to the managing director. Wasim, the 47-year old who was previously chief executive at Leicestershire County Cricket Club, took that office earlier this week and will continue for another three years.