LAHORE             -          Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has said he does not foresee the T20 World Cup taking place later this year in Australia as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a huge threat.

Mani was of the view that during the current year, no International Cricket Council (ICC) event can take place due to ongoing situation of Coronavirus pandemic across the world. There are chances that next year when situation becomes conducive, the ICC event may take place, he said this while addressing an online videoconference here on Wednesday.

The PCB chief said: “Although New Zealand and Australia have almost controlled the Covid19 yet their cricket boards are very careful and they are not ready take any risk in this regard. So seeing all this, one can easily say that there is hardly any chance of holding an ICC event this year. We can expect any ICC event only next year.

“The main threat to hold the ICC event this year is that if any player gets affected by the Coronavirus, it will create a lot of difficulties for the organisers. For such a big decision, the ICC will hopefully take all the stalk-holders in confidence first and then decide about the fate of the mega event (World Cup). In next three to four weeks, the ICC can take final decision on it. If the World Cup doesn’t take place, it won’t bring a big loss to the PCB,” he added.

The PCB chief said that he is not interested in taking over the slot of ICC President. “Last time, when I left the ICC presidentship, I had decided to quit cricket completely but on the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan, I took over the PCB charge as its chairman. Some of the ICC members are trying to convince me to rejoin it, but my agenda is not the ICC. I have come to serve Pakistan cricket that is all.”

“I keep on meeting the PM and we mostly have very good discussion on cricket and the cricket board. I told PM Imran Khan in my very first meeting as PCB chairman that there is a dire need to make laws against match-fixing so that corrupt elements must be dealt with an iron hand and sent behind the bars. To eliminate corruption from cricket, the PCB has already sent the draft to the government, which will hopefully approve it to help the PCB eliminate the fixing from cricket.”

Mani revealed that in his meeting with the PM, he also discussed the domestic cricket and the ways to impel it, so that it may prove fruitful for Pakistan cricket at national and international level. “I have thoroughly discussed with PM Imran Khan about domestic cricket and the hurdles being faced by the PCB in this regard. I am hopeful that after taking some drastic steps, the problems of domestic cricket will be resolved and it will improve gradually and start producing results.

“It is true that departmental cricket played very significant role in Pakistan cricket but it’s not a durable model while no big cricket-playing nation has such a model in their domestic cricket. When the PCB took some bold decision for bringing betterment in Pakistan cricket, those, who were misusing their powers, brought their cases to the courts. They are speaking against the PCB just to keep on enjoying their vested interests,” he asserted.

The PCB chairman said that if the situation doesn’t improve till December, the board has to take some bold decisions in this regard. “The decision of playing remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be taken in December seeing the situation of the country. If it doesn’t improve till December, then we will sit and ponder over how to conduct the remaining matches of the PSL-5.”

He said that it is also difficult to hold domestic cricket matches in time in the country. “It seems that with the passage of time, the situation will further worsen instead of getting improved. So it is also possible that domestic cricket may be delayed due to this Coronavirus pandemic.”

“The purpose of Asia Cup is to collect capital for the Asian countries. If Asia Cup doesn’t take place, it will be a great loss for Nepal, Qatar and Bahrain. In South Asia, Sri Lanka has better situation to host cricket events. They (Sri Lanka) are hopeful of resuming cricket activities in September this year after getting rid of the Coronoavirus pandemic. Conducting our home events in Sri Lanka is in our plans, as the main purpose of hosting our matches in Sri Lanka is to bring betterment in Asia cricket,” said Mani.