Ball in BCCI's court for resumption of cricket ties: Sethi

PCB chairman remains optimistic of bilateral series between India and Pakistan

Ball in BCCI's court for resumption of cricket ties: Sethi

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi believes the ball is in the court of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCi) for the resumption of cricketing ties between the arch-rivals.

India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series since 2012-13, even though both teams were scheduled to play eight series from 2015-2023 under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was signed at the time of the formation of the Big Three.

However, not even a single series has materialised after India’s government refused to give a green signal.

Therefore, the PCB has lodged a $70 million claim against BCCI for not honouring the MoU in front of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The ICC has formed a three-member panel, which will decide the case in October later this year.

Sethi, who is currently in India for the ICC annual meeting, expressed these views while talking to the Press Trust of India, and also refused to comment on the matter regarding the claim.

"India and Pakistan need to play each other for the sake of the people of the sub-continent, but the ball is in BCCI's court,” said Sethi. “We hope sooner rather than later sense will prevail and the two sides can get back to playing good cricket again.”

He added: "I'm not at liberty to discuss the issue as per orders of the tribunal. There's going to be no comments on that issue. Those are the orders of the tribunal."

Sethi, who was a full-time journalist before becoming the head of PCB, also showed his surprise on the role of Indian media regarding cricketing ties between both countries.

“I'm just surprised that there's not sufficient media pressure here in India for resumption of cricketing ties with Pakistan,” he said. “I am sure the people of the two countries want to see cricket between the two countries. There's a lot of goodwill on both sides so let's hope that the issue can be resolved in the interest of the fans. There's no rough weather between the two Boards. There's no problem at all.”

Talking about resumption of cricket in Pakistan, Sethi believes a lot more has to be done.

 "It's unfortunate that given a situation — a hangover from the past (2009 terrorist attack) we are still unable to play all our matches,” he said. “The Pakistan Super League is very popular at home. It receives the highest possible ratings ever in the history of Pakistan TV and broadcast medium. Our effort is to bring PSL to Pakistan so that we can play all our matches at home, but we are taking (small steps) as we are hoping that bilateral cricket will also come back to Pakistan. Another important step in this direction is that the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has just agreed that the Emerging Asia Cup will be played partly in Pakistan and partly in Sri Lanka. We are just hoping that everything returns to normalcy between India and Pakistan.”

In the ICC’s annual meeting, one of the top agenda is to control players’ behaviour in the wake of spot-fixing scandal during the third Test between South Africa and Australia, and Sethi believes it is a step in the right direction.

"Cheating of any sort should be looked down upon. Strict measures should be taken to punish those indulging in cheating,” said Sethi. “Match-fixing, spot-fixing, ball-tampering are all instances of cheating. We should have very strict punishments for these. Therefore now the ICC should be taking strong measures against it. The current PCB takes a very dim view of any cheating, match-fixing and spot-fixing. We have already punished two or three players very severely. We take a very strong view. I hope and expect all other Boards will also strong view of such instances."