PCB chief: Boards should stick together, not take legal recourse

After the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee termed the judgement as ‘binding and non-appealable’, PCB chief Ehsan Mani made it clear that the Pakistan board will try and restore normalcy.

PCB chief Ehsan Mani said the BCCI and the Pakistan board should stick together.   -  AFP

As the International Cricket Council (ICC) dismissed the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s case against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeking compensation for India’s refusal to play bilateral series, PCB chief, Ehsan Mani, said it is time to move on.

Speaking to Sportstar a while after the ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee termed the judgement as ‘binding and non-appealable’, Mani made it clear that the Pakistan board will try and restore normalcy.

“My attitude has always been that the cricket boards should be sticking to each other and not taking legal recourse but the situation is what it is,” Mani said.

“We accept the fact that the panel has made a ruling and it did not go in favour of PCB. We will move on from here. For the sake of cricket, both the boards need to get on and we will both put this behind and try and work together if we can,” Mani, who took charge as the PCB chief in September, said.

The PCB, under its then chairman, Dr. Najam Sethi, had claimed damages of approx ₹447 crore for India not playing any bilateral cricket with Pakistan despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which guaranteed six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.

The BCCI, from the beginning, has asserted that the MoU is not binding on them and a bilateral series can only be possible if the Indian government gives a green light.

While Mani believes that the boards should stick together, does that mean that he disapproves the stand taken by the previous board?

Mani, who has been the chief of the ICC in the past, however, doesn’t want to think that way. “I can’t talk about what the previous management did, but obviously they did it because they thought it was for the right cause. We should now move on, rather than looking back,” Mani said.

The PCB chief also believes that both the boards have ‘responsibility to the game in the end’ and is hopeful that the ‘focus will remain’ there.

With the decision going against the PCB, what are the chances of a bilateral series?

“At the moment, there are a couple of factors in India. Firstly, the Indian general election and secondly, the BCCI’s election. You have got a temporary board at the moment. Once these matters are out of the way, I hope the two boards will sit down together and explore the possibilities of playing each other,” a hopeful Mani said.

Herbert Smith Freehills along with British lawyer QC Ian Mills fought India’s case, while PCB was represented by Khwaja Ahmad Hosain, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Alexandros Panayides of Clifford Chance, London and Salman Nasser, PCB GM Legal Affairs.

The ICC’s Disputes Panel comprised Michael Beloff QC, Jan Paulsson and Dr Annabelle Bennett.

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