Karachi: Hopeful of the Indo-Pak series coming through in December despite the escalation in diplomatic tensions, Pakistan Cricket Board’s senior official Najam Sethi said the situation would be clear by next month.
“I am not bothered by political statements coming from India or the fuss in the media around the series. I see it happening because they are highs and lows in Indo-Pak relations all the time and the situation is still not that serious to say there will be no cricket series in December,” Sethi said.
“I think the situation will be much clearer in September when the prime ministers of both countries and the other officials of the foreign ministries are likely to meet on the sidelines on the UN session in New York,” he said in an interview.
Sethi, who was PCB chief when the MOU was signed between the two boards to play six series between 2015 and 2022 with four of them being hosted by Pakistan, said the document was signed in an ICC meeting and it is on record that BCCI said it will not back out.
“There are millions of dollars involved in this MOU and we stand to gain a lot financially by hosting India in December. More importantly, the Indo-Pak series is even bigger than the Ashes in cricket and we need to remain cool and not panic and get worried that the series will not be held,” Sethi added.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said on the Geo Super channel on Monday night that the series will not go ahead if the political tensions do not subside.
“There are three months and the series can be held. The BCCI wants the series to happen but our stance is clear that you can’t have bullets and cricket together. The existing outstanding issues between the two countries have to be resolved but it is wrong to say we don’t want to play the series against Pakistan.”
Seth admitted that government permission and clearance for the series was a must. “When we were to tour Bangladesh earlier this there was anti-Pakistan sentiment there and we were advised to not tour. But we convinced our government that our team should go and play and we did that without any incident. So it is also not necessary that all boards will do what the government does but yes you can’t ignore the government.”