LAHORE-Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani terming India ‘unreliable’ has said that Pakistan doesn’t want to play cricket series with India to survive in cricket world.

Mani said this in a PCB podcast after he was shared about the idea of Shoaib Akhtar to play an ODI series with India, which was also backed by former Pakistan captain Shahid Khan Afridi. Terming India ‘unreliable’, the PCB chief said the PCB doesn’t mix politics and cricket. “Although playing not with India costs us, yet we aren’t thinking about that. Thinking about playing a series with India is pie in the sky. So instead of wasting our energies on it, we have to live without them and we don’t need them to survive,” he said.

“India are unreliable and we can’t rely on cricket resuming with them anytime in the foreseeable future. If it happens, it will be good for both the countries. We face them in only the ICC events, which, for me, is fine. We’re interested in cricket and we want to keep politics away from cricket,” he added.

Mani also stressed upon criminalising the match and spot fixing in Pakistan, just as it is in Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. He said it is important for cricket playing nations to have laws against the menace of fixing in sports so that any such incidents could be properly investigated. “One thing should be very clear that there should be zero tolerance on such offences,” he said and added: “We have been following what ICC rules are but we lack what other countries have done to curb fixing and that’s criminalisation of corruption in sports.”

There is a dire need to legislate on match-fixing and join countries such as Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. UK, too, deals with fixing offences under its bribery laws. On this, the PCB chief says he is a proponent of the idea and has ‘already spoken to the government earlier on this and will go again stressing to make laws against fixing in corruption’. “We don’t have legal authority to call witnesses or seek bank details but if we make laws against this then it will make it easy to investigate by agencies,” he asserted.

Talking about another important area of match fixing and especially the hot debate of Sharjeel Khan’s possible return, Mani said that he doesn’t want to comment on any individual but clarified that anyone, who has completed one’s suspension, should get the opportunity to prove one again.

The PCB chief said that rehabilitation of tainted players would also help spreading the strong message against match fixing. “The players, who have completed the rehabilitation, can also convey a very positive and strong message that how harmful it was for them to get involved in wrong deeds,” he said and added: “For such players, the only way to make a comeback is fitness and their performances in the domestic cricket.”

About Pakistan’s tour of England scheduled in July, Mani said: “Yes, Pakistan and England series is scheduled in July this year. But in this difficult time due to Covid-19 pandemic, we will do what’s the need of the hour and we will also work with the ECB in this regard. Hopefully, the tour will go ahead, but we have to be prepared for disruptions and our plans will need to be flexible while there will have to be goodwill on both sides.”