ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani believes Pakistan-India cricket does not take place because of the policy of the Indian government, saying it will be good for the health of global cricket if both the countries play.

“Pakistan-India matches are the most-watched cricket matches in the world. However, apart from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) events, we do not play against each other due to the policy of the Indian government. It will be good for the health of global cricket if we play against each other, however, in our planning, we do not take into account any bilateral series against India,” cricbuzz.com quoted Mani as saying.

To a question, Mani said that the PCB had no issues with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “I do not have a fear that some countries will put their interests ahead of what is good for the game as a whole. We all owe a duty of care to the global game and the well-being of world cricket and not put our short term interests before it,” he said. On how critical was the next person on the ICC chairperson, Mani said a good leader would bring countries together and act in the best interest of all the Full and Associate ICC Members. “Shashank Manohar was excellent and provided the leadership ICC needed at a difficult time. I hope that the next chairperson will do the same,” he added.

When asked about Pakistan recently approved draft to make match-fixing a criminal offence, Mani said having the appropriate legal framework to go after corruptors and match fixers was very important. “We have to have the strongest possible deterrent to protect the game. I believe that every major cricket playing country should criminalize match-fixing,” he said.

Speaking about the Asia Cup, Mani said the staging of the Asia Cup has been postponed due to circumstances beyond the control of any of the ACC countries. “The Sri Lankan Cricket Board and PCB agreed some time ago that Sri Lanka would host the next Asia Cup instead of Pakistan, as it is more likely that Sri Lanka will be in a position to host it as the COVID-19 impact there appears to be in better control than in most countries in our region. “The financial impact if Asia Cup cancellation on Pakistan is minimal, the importance of the Asia Cup is that it generates funds for the development of the emerging cricket nations in Asia. There is complete consensus within the ACC on the timing of the Asia Cup,” he added.

Giving an update on the remaining Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches, Mani said that 30 out of 34 scheduled PSL matches were played in Pakistan this year, before COVID-19 pandemic cut short the PSL. “We hope that we will complete the season by the end of this year,” he said.

Mani said getting international cricket back in Pakistan has been a top priority for him. “Pakistan played its international home series at neutral venues for 10 years. Playing in virtually empty stadiums in neutral venues without fan support has been very tough for our players. Our default position now is that we will play all our home series in Pakistan. In the past nine months, we have hosted Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the MCC in Pakistan. We have hosted directors and/or chief executives from England, Australia, Ireland, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the past nine months as well as the Chief Executive of the ICC and some other ICC board members,” he added.