Pakistan asking for its due: Sethi

KARACHI – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has said that it is not fair to say that Pakistan is begging to play with India as playing a series against India is our right.

Talking to media in Karachi, Sethi said it was a wrong impression that Pakistan was desperate to play India and insisted it was about asking for its due. “It is not a question of us falling over to get India to play with us. It is a question of asking for our rights. It is about USD100 to 150 million dollars revenue and it is not right for us to leave it like that,” he said.

“There is nothing bigger than Pakistan and India matches. We are only asking them to fulfill their contractual obligation and if they could not adhere to it they should not have signed the MoU with us,” he added. The PCB chief said that the Indian Board will have to get clearance from its government for hosting the Asia Cup and it was yet to be decided.

Sethi disagreed with the notion that the Indian board tried to hold the International Cricket Council hostage all the time. “I don’t think we need to use such words like hostage. The fact is that broadcasters are from India, India has most money. Every ICC member wants to play India as this allows them to make money and India is a top team as well,” he said. “India’s point of view or that what they think is that since they contribute most revenues to the ICC they should get more but for us all ICC members are equal,” he added.

He said the Asian Cricket Council had put on hold a decision regarding the venues for next year’s Asia Cup and Asian Emerging Nations Cup. “The Asia Cup and Asia Emerging Nations Cup tournaments are matters, which are pending and so let us see what happens now,” he said. The Emerging Nations Cup was earlier scheduled to be held in Pakistan next April. “There have always been ups and downs in Pakistan and India relations including cricket so it is nothing new,” he said.

Sethi also defended the decision by the PCB to support the controversial T10 League held in Sharjah this month and allow players to appear in it. “I look at this way that it has earned us money. Initially, they were not willing to pay us anything but we got a substantial amount from them. My background is business and academic and when I negotiate I do everything which is to PCB’s advantage.”

The chairman reiterated his commitment to hold PSL final in Karachi saying that the Sindh government is fully cooperating with the PCB and the things are on right direction. “Sindh government is cooperating with us for the PSL-3 final. They understand that this is now or never moment of Karachi. This is very important for Karachi to give the message that it is also a peaceful city,” he said.

Sethi said he had meetings with security officials and Sindh CM during his visit to Karachi. “The meetings were very fruitful as we discussed things related to security, which include plan making, implementation of that plan and demonstration of SOPs,” he said. “The foreign experts will review the SOPs.”

Sethi further said that work at the Karachi Stadium is in full swing and it should be completed by February 15, 2018. “Even if it is not prepared by February 15, then deadline should be extended by March 15, because final is to be held on March 25. We will fulfill our promise of having the PSL final in Karachi,” he said but also revealed that ‘plan B’ for the PSL final is to have it in Lahore.

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