Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, has said that Pakistan would consider pulling out of the World Twenty20 in India next year, should the proposed India-Pakistan series in December not go ahead.
Shaharyar was scheduled to meet the BCCI president Shashank Manohar in Mumbai earlier this week to discuss the series, but those talks were put on hold after anti-Pakistan protests from the Shiv Sena, a regional political party.
Shaharyar has already written a detailed letter to Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Shariff, informing him of the present situation with India. Shaharyar said he understood the consequences of pulling out of an ICC tournament, but felt the security situation in India would leave Pakistan little choice in the matter.
“My own feeling is that we will have to go to our government and talk to them about the situation,” Shaharyar said. “What I feel is that the government will say ‘do not go to an ICC tournament in India’. That is what I sense because of the uncertain situation for a Pakistani in India. You have seen the situation there. In this environment, how can we say? We will not have security enough there.
“Maybe the ICC would say ‘you have forfeited the matches’ and that’s fine, we will forfeit the matches. But the decisions will only be taken when the doors [on the bilateral series] are finally closed. To me, the possibility of an Indo-Pak series is close to over.
“There are two points in that. First, all doors [to the resumption of bilateral ties] have to be closed. We will then decide on the matter in one week or so. India hasn’t confirmed or said anything, but are delaying it. We will have to decide that this series cannot happen, and after that we will decide what our policy is.”
Shaharyar said that after the protests, the BCCI “did not care” to reschedule the meeting for a different time, leaving him stranded for nearly 36 hours. However, Najam Sethi, the head of the PCB’s executive committee, contradicted Shaharyar’s statement, saying that the BCCI was in touch with the PCB “at every stage”.
“Shaharyar Khan thought Shashank Manohar would phone him, but he did not call him [after the cancellation],” Sethi said.”I shouldn’t say it, and Shaharyar has also not revealed it, but when we were in the hotel, Manohar was communicating with us through his wife [who was] sitting in the same room as Shaharyar’s wife. At every stage, we knew what was happening. We were told [by the BCCI] that they will stay in touch after the meeting was cancelled.”
Shaharyar, though, strongly denied Sethi’s claim, claiming that while the two wives met socially, they did not speak about cricket.
“We didn’t go there to beg. We went to talk about cricket,” Shaharyar said. “It started from the ICC meeting in Dubai, where the BCCI president invited us to Mumbai because they were also interested in reviving the ties. There is a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both of us to play a cricket series, and we want to make sure it’s happening. We need time to arrange it, and that is the reason we want to talk.”
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent. @kalson
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