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Decision on World T20 participation rests with govt, Shaharyar tells ICC

Decision on World T20 participation rests with govt, Shaharyar tells ICC

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, Shaharyar Khan, says he has informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) that the decision on Pakistan’s participation in the upcoming T20 World Cup, to be held in India in March-April, will only be taken by the Government of Pakistan.

“In the last ICC meeting, I have made it clear to the them that Pakistan’s participation in the ICC T20 World Cup totally depends on the permission of government due to security issues for Pakistan cricket team in India,” Shaharyar told reporters here on Monday.

“Recently, Australia refused to take part in the ICC Junior World Cup in Bangladesh due to general security threat, but in India the security threat is Pakistan specific so it is the domain of the government to give us permission or not,” he said.

“There are good number of examples where extremists in India have attacked Pakistani visitors, resulting in the postponement of renowned singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts twice as well as the attempt to disrupt Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri’s book launch where the host person from India was bathed in black ink by the India extremists,” he said.

The PCB chief added that the PCB is awaiting a reply from the government about participation in the T20 World Cup.

To a question, the chairman said someone in the ICC meeting had suggested that Pakistan matches might be held at any neutral venue like Bangladesh, UAE or Sri Lanka. “We will be ready to play the World Cup matches at a neutral venue if the government will not allow us to go India,” he said.

He also said that all the four major Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had agreed to restore the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), which was earlier dissolved.

He said the decision had also been taken to dismantle the newly-introduced Big Three formula from the ICC after new chairman Shashnak Monohar of India by himself raised voice against it. He disclosed that a campaign against the Big Three was to start anytime this year but it was a good sign that India, the biggest supporter of the formula, decided to dispense with it.

He said in April’s ICC meeting all member countries would table their suggestions for the new set up in place of Big Three and in the month of June, a new chairman for the ICC will be elected by all the members.

He was all praise for the successful launch of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and ensured that from next year the number of teams would be raised from five to six. He said all the ICC member countries were present at the opening ceremony of the PSL and they all praised the successful launch of the league.

“There was a lot of problem and hurdles, but PSL chairman Najam Sethi and his entire team did a good job to remove them and launch the PSL in a successful manner,” he lauded. “Our youngsters are playing alongside great cricketers and world famous coaches and that will definitely help them a lot in the future.

“Players like Kevin Pietersen, Shan Watson and Chris Gayle are there and their presence definitely help our youngsters to learn finer points of the game and improve thir game.

“World’s top batsman Vivan Richard is also there as a mentor of the Quetta Gladiators which is hugely inspiring for the players, especially the youngsters,” Shaharyar observed.

He said hopefully the PSL would not suffer any financial losses and as it might break-even for the first edition. But from next season it would begin to earn profit. Overall, he said the PSL would remain a morale boosting and a beneficial project for Pakistan cricket.

In a clear reference to the ongoing Master Champions League — which is a private league held for the retired cricketers — Shaharyar said the PCB had raised objections at the ICC meeting against far too many T20 Championships being staged, especially those which have not been patronised by any member country of the ICC.

To a question regarding Yasir Shah’s short ban, Shaharyar said it was a good news for the national team because the wily spinner will now be eligible for the key series against England in August.

Prasinig PCB Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmad, legal advisor and PCB doctor Sohail Saleem, the PCB chief said all three officials had done a tremendously good job in presenting Yasir’s case well at the ICC.

To a question he said it was the domain of the selectors whether or not to consider off-spinner Saeed Ajmal in the Asia and World Cup teams, which has been finalised and is likely to be announced this week.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2016

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