Ehsan Mani: Teams may avoid tours to Bangladesh

Ehsan Mani, the former ICC President, has expressed his fears that 'Bangladesh cricket might also be hit hard by terrorism like Pakistan cricket has suffered in the last few years'. A terrorist attack on an upscale cafe in Dhaka has induced doubts over England's willingness to tour the country later this year.

Ehsan Mani..."At a time when foreigners were killed in the attack it will be difficult for Bangladesh to convince England to play the series."   -  Getty Images

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani fears that Bangladesh cricket, like Pakistan, could now face the problem of international teams not touring the country after the deadly terror attack in Dhaka.

At least 20 foreigners were killed when terrorists attacked an upscale cafe Dhaka this week, immediately creating doubts over whether England would undertake its tour to Bangladesh in September. “After what happened in Dhaka I fear that like Pakistan, the Bangladesh board will also find it difficult to convince teams to tour the country,” Mani said in an interview.

“I am concerned that Bangladesh cricket might also be hit hard by terrorism like Pakistan cricket has suffered in the last few years,” Mani said. “At a time when foreigners were killed in the attack it will be difficult for Bangladesh to convince England to play the series.”

“Don’t forget West Indies Under-19 team returned home from Bangladesh due to security concerns some years back while Australia also pulled out of the ICC Youth World Cup this year,” he added. Mani noted that Pakistan was losing money in millions because India has not engaged in a 'home' bilateral series since 2007.

“I have said before the PCB must stop government interference and take strong decisions. It should refuse to play India in ICC events until the BCCI changes its policy on bilateral cricket series.”

He said that whenever Pakistan plays India in a ICC event, it brings in the highest revenues for the ICC and member boards.

Question mark on PCB

Mani also said in these circumstances if Bangladesh succeeded in convincing teams to play in its country, it would raise a big question mark on the ability of the Pakistan Cricket Board to handle the situation since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in March 2009. “Yes it would raise serious questions on how the PCB has handled the situation and why it couldn’t get foreign team to visit Pakistan.”

Mani said in the existing global situation it was imperative for the Asian cricket bloc to show more unity and support each other. The former ICC chief also lashed out at the PCB for requesting the ICC to set up a special fund for Pakistan cricket to offset revenue losses suffered due to international teams not touring the country.

“It is shameful what the PCB has done... it is very disappointing. Instead of going to the ICC with a begging bowl the PCB should curtail and control its expenses,” he said.

Mani said while it was true that playing its home series outside Pakistan meant loss of revenues and expenses for the PCB, he advised the board to improve its organisational structure and also stop government interference in its affairs.

“If the PCB is indeed facing a financial crisis it can take number of administrative steps to cope with the situation. They are nearly 1000 employees in the board, is there need for this? Expenses must be curtailed.”

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