‘Can’t Wait Forever to Play India’: New PCB MD Wants to ‘Move On’

Cricket ties between the nations have been at a standstill this decade, with no bilateral series played since 2013.

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Virat Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed pose with the trophy ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final between India and Pakistan at London.

It has been six years since India and Pakistan last played each other outside of multi-team tournaments, and with the situation showing no signs of changing, Pakistan Cricket Board’s new managing director believes it’s time for Pakistan to adopt a new strategy.

Wasim Khan, who was recently appointed to the PCB’s leadership role, reckons the board should “move on” from insisting upon finding a workable solution and create a scenario where India “ask us to play”.

Cricketing ties between the neighbouring countries have been on a standstill for the last decade, and while the PCB has taken several steps – from pushing talks with their Indian counterparts, to taking the BCCI to court – it appears the new MD wants a change in tactics, according to a ESPNcricinfo report.

“It’s a massive challenge,” Wasim told reporters in Lahore on Sunday, 10 February. “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 the near future. But, we are trying and [PCB chairman] Ehsan [Mani] is trying hard to get them to the table and get things moving.”

“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. We need to move forward and carry on. We can’t wait forever to play India.”
Wasim Khan, PCB MD

Chairman Mani echoed Wasim’s sentiments. “Until it’s not done (elections in India) there is no point in engaging them at this stage because we have to start over with new people in the BCCI,” said Mani.

“Our relations with the Indian board are very good and we have mutual respect but we won’t be imploring them to play us. If we can take Pakistan cricket to a level where we are among the top three teams in the world, they will come on their own to play with us.”
Ehsan Mani, PCB Chairman

The PCB has been engaged in talks for more matches between the countries with the BCCI since 2009. A process which began during the tenure of Zaka Ashraf continued until Najam Sethi’s recent reign, during which the ICC rejected his case filed against the BCCI for dishonouring an agreement signed in 2013 to play seven bilateral series from 2014 to 2023.

Wasim, who had earlier been chief executive at the Leicestershire County Cricket Club in England, insisted that the PCB’s first priority has to be the growth of Pakistan cricket at the global level.

“Our focus is to develop Pakistan cricket and get our team and players a lot of success at the international level.”

Mani rued the influence of political powers on cricket in the subcontinent, while taking a veiled dig at India.

“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 happens a lot.”

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