India’s refusal to play a cricket series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a breach of contract, plain and simple. Under the Future Tours Program (FTP) by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the number and frequency of matches, both home and away, has been determined for a period of ten years. The FTP was one of the first actions of the realigned ICC power structure, and as such represents their most important contribution. India – part of the ‘big three’ – is a pioneer of the FTP, and for it to dishonour the agreement it signed is highly disreputable. The disrepute multiples when even a cursory examination of events makes it clear that the Board of Control of Cricket in India’s

(BCCI) actions are malicious and motivated by greed.

Security has been the bane of India-Pakistan cricket. The escalated tensions between Pakistan and India had already made the possibility of a cricket series between the two unlikely – series have been called off before and will probably be called off in the future too. Yet neither security, nor bilateral relations seem to be a factor. The BCCI has proposed a an alternative series only limited over cricket, to be played in India – apparently bilateral relations are not a problem if the series is played in India. Similarly the security argument is hollow. The UAE is a neutral venue which hosts international cricket on a regular basis. India players have played matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE, the English team is safely on tour there and the countless internationals cricketer taking part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) also deem it safe enough.

In fact, if there are any security threats they lie in India. Violent crimes against Muslims are on the rise, Shiv Sena is on a rampage, attacking Pakistanis and targeting Pakistan cricket in particular; so much so that India has had to assure Pakistan that matches from the proposed series will be played in venues away from the danger.

With its arguments so clearly flawed the reasons must lie somewhere else. A series on Indian soil will bring revenue to India, it holds the broadcasting rights, the ticket sales the advertising choices – in UAE these go to Pakistan. Money is clearly on the BCCI’s mind, since it has offered to share some of the revenue to sweeten the deal.

PCB chairman and the Pakistani government are doing well to resist this dishonest blackmail by the Indian board. They must stick to their guns, plead their case before the ICC, and if need be, take BCCI to court for breach of contract.