Pakistan cautious about BCCI offer to play in neutral venues
The cricket community in the country has reacted cautiously to reports that the Indian and English Boards were willing to play Pakistan at neutral venues with some asking the PCB not to fall in the "trap".
The reports of the BCCI and the England and Wales Cricket Board hinting to agree to play Pakistan in neutral venues came ahead of ICC' executive board meeting in Dubai on January 28 and 29 in which India, Australia and England are keen to get a working paper approved, that restructures the governance of world cricket and cedes executive decision making to them.
Former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas said that the PCB should be careful while going through the offers from the Indian and English Boards.
"It is clear they want us to support this restructuring of world cricket and are offering us a lollipop. Pakistan must keep in mind its long term interests and also the interest of world cricket and other members before deciding on a clear line of action," he said.
Former PCB chief executive Arif Abbasi warned the Board not to fall into BCCI and ECB's "trap".
"I would warn the Pakistan board to not fall into this trap of India promising to play us at neutral venues or even England wanting to give us a series," he said.
He said that India, Australia and England were basically trying to become first class citizens in the ICC and make the seven other nations second class citizens.
The PCB confirmed that Giles Clarke of the ECB had sent a letter to the PCB chief Zaka Ashraf wishing to meet him on the sidelines of the ICC board meeting to discuss possible series between the two countries.
Former captain Rashid Latif said the draft needed to be opposed by the seven other ICC full members and the lead should be taken by Pakistan and South Africa.
"It is a case of the big three vs the spineless as far as I am concerned. You don't have to be a genius to realise that if this working paper is passed India, Australia and England will be calling the shots all the way," Latif said.
"This paper preaches sheer discrimination and must be shot down immediately," he said.Former ICC President Ehsan Mani said that the draft proposal raises serious governance issues including lack of transparency and conflict of interest.
"The authors of the paper (BCCI, ECB and CA) benefit significantly in financial terms from their proposals and promote their own self-interests," he noted.
He also pointed out that the proposal in the paper completely ignores the recommendations in the Woolf Report regarding "fair" distribution of revenue among member countries.
Mani said the Position Paper of the Working Group should be withdrawn and referred to an external independent panel to review and comment on and BCCI, CA and ECB should have no part in this process or subsequent discussion on this matter as they are clearly conflicted.
Former captain and coach Mohsin Khan said that Pakistan should strongly resist any move to allow one or two Boards to take total control of world cricket just because of their strong financial clout.
"I have not seen this paper in detail but from what I have heard, some of the proposals are ridiculous and Pakistan needs to be strong on this issue. If this paper is accepted it will divide the cricket world," he warned.