His phone has not stopped ringing ever since the foreign players of Quetta Gladiators pulled out of Sunday’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore.
But even then, the PSL chairman, Najam Sethi is not really concerned about the controversy-ridden league’s future. Rather, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is now gearing up for a legal battle against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for failing to keep its ‘promises’.
For the last few months, the PCB has threatened the Indian cricket board of dire consequences for dishonouring the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the latter had signed in 2014. But, during an exclusive interaction with Sportstar on Thursday morning, Sethi admitted that the PCB officials will discuss the issue, after the PSL gets over on Sunday.
“The PCB is seriously mulling legal action against the BCCI for not fulfilling the terms of its contracts with the PCB and the ICC,” Sethi said.
The BCCI had signed a MoU with the PCB in 2014, in which it had promised to play six series between 2015 and 2023. But, with the Indian government not issuing a clearance, there hasn’t been any bilateral series ever since.
Even, the PCB’s request of hosting the series in a neutral venue was turned down by the erstwhile BCCI chief Anurag Thakur. And now, with the Committee of Administrators (CoA) looking after the cricketing body, the PCB officials feel it is time to strike back.
“We know everything depends on normalisation of relations between the two countries. It is the Indian government and the BCCI that have brought politics into the equation, because the PCB is ready to play India in any third or neutral country,” said Sethi, who is also the chairman of the PCB’s Executive Committee.
The PCB had, reportedly, suffered a 200 million dollar loss after India refused to play bilateral series against Pakistan. And, now with the England players — Kevin Pietersen, Tymal Mills and Luke Wright — pulling out of the PSL final citing security reasons, Sethi feels that only a India-Pakistan bilateral series can save cricket in the country.
“The way forward is for India and Pakistan to play cricket, preferably on each other’s home grounds. The cricket teams should play in member countries and not succumb to blackmailing and terrorising political parties or groups,” the veteran administrator added.
Earlier, former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and the West Indies’ Chris Gayle had decided not to travel to Lahore for the PSL final as they feared security breach.
But Sethi is not too worried about security arrangements. “Only two out of a dozen foreign players have pulled out. That’s not a big deal. We have a pull of 50 players ready to come to Lahore at just 24-hour notice. Come Sunday (March 5), the two teams will play four foreign players of repute as prescribed,” the PSL chief pointed out.
While the PCB’s decision to host the final in Lahore hasn’t gone too well with some of the former cricketers, Sethi claims that that the PSL has been able to draw more eyeballs than the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“The PSL has climbed the charts in every way. It is now grossing more eyeballs than any other league, perhaps even the IPL,” he claimed.
With the security beefed up at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the PCB is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the controversy-ridden gets over without further hassles. After all, all’s well that ends well!
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