PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has asserted Pakistan cannot play a bilateral series in India as desired by the BCCI. A day after he revealed that BCCI president Shashank Manohar had offered to host Pakistan in December, Khan made it clear that the series would only be possible only if India come and play in the UAE.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had pointed out that the Indian government would not give the permission for India to play Pakistan in the UAE. But Khan wants to know the reason. “There is no question of playing in India. I still awaiting the reason of not playing in UAE,” Khan told ESPNcricinfo. With both sides adamant about their stance, the issue has now officially become a deadlock.
Khan said Pakistan had already played two away series in India and he failed to understand why the Indian government would not allow the players to compete in the UAE when the first leg of the IPL’s 2014 edition was held there. “We went there in 2007 and 2012. This time not again. It is our series and we will play at our home venue which is the UAE,” he reiterated. “What is the problem playing in UAE as they had also played their IPL there as well so why not Pakistan series?”
According to the MoU signed in 2014 between the two boards, Pakistan were meant to host India for a home series comprising two Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s. However, it is understood that only about a month’s window is available for the series as India travel to Australia on January 8 for limited-over contests from January 12. According to a PCB official, Pakistan would not mind a similar 50- and 20-over series and drop the Tests considering the profits would amount to the same.
Before both sides start dealing with the minutiae, the PCB is waiting for the BCCI to send a formal proposal, which Khan had asked of Manohar during their telephone conversation last Friday. Khan is also of the opinion that the issue would be eventually be decided not by the PCB, but by the Pakistan government.
If Pakistan do end up travelling to India, another key question that needs attention is who gets telecast rights. Currently Ten Sports is host broadcaster for the PCB while Star India holds the broadcasting rights for matches organised by the BCCI.
Rajeev Sethi, Ten Sports chief executive, said he was not worried at the moment. “Why should we be?” Sethi said. “Give me the reason to be worried. We’ll be happy if this tournament happens.” Asked whether he would maintain that position if the series takes place in India, Sethi said, “I’m not saying that. I’m saying we’ll be happy if this tournament happens because we know contractually, ethically, logically we are the partner broadcasters for PCB and if the PCB is hosting a tournament obviously we are the partner broadcasters.”
Sethi said that the matter was for the BCCI and the PCB to sort. “What I can say as per our contractual agreement with the PCB [is that] we are the host broadcasters. If the BCCI is the host their partner broadcaster is Star. If PCB is the host board then we are the partner broadcaster.
“We are working with the PCB for more than 10 years now and there is a current term of another five years [left]. The whole arrangement of the contract stated that we were the broadcasters for the PCB, if they are the hosts. We have complete faith in the power of our relationship [with the PCB].”