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Former International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Ehsan Mani said Pakistan should tour India on its terms, because the way the PCB agreed to tour the neighbouring country would not be fruitful for cricket in Pakistan.

[caption id="attachment_489" align="alignright" width="300"]It is incomprehensible that Pakistan agreed to tour India without assurance of a reciprocal series: Ehsan Mani (Photo: AFP) It is incomprehensible that Pakistan agreed to tour India without assurance of a reciprocal series: Ehsan Mani (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

In an interview with PakPassion.net, Mani said the Pakistan Cricket Board had made a mistake by agreeing to a one-day series against India.

“Even if the PCB took the decision on political grounds, it should have asked the politicians to make sure that India will also play a series against Pakistan, even at a neutral venue. But nothing such happened.”

Referring to the past, Mani said India had cancelled two series against Pakistan, incurring heavy financial losses to the PCB. He said keeping in mind the efforts India had made to isolate Pakistan in international cricket after Mumbai attacks, Pakistan should not tour India.

He said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) knew it quite well that refusing to play a series against Pakistan, even at a neutral venue, would cost the PCB as much as $70 million to $80 million, and yet they refused.

But the short series Pakistan are going to play in India would help the BCCI earn $100 million, or probably $150 million, but the PCB is sending the team without even assurance of a reciprocal tour, he said.

To a question about the restoration of international cricket in Pakistan, Mani said it seemed the PCB was desperate to invite foreign teams to Pakistan and doing whatever it can do for that matter. He said that actual problem lies somewhere else and the board can do nothing in this regard.

“The real problem is Pakistan’s deteriorating law-and-order situation. That’s why instead of begging Bangladesh and other teams for tour, we should try to talk to government and strive to create an atmosphere where other countries find it comfortable to make a tour.”

He said the visiting players don’t like to be treated as prisoners and to remain confined at stadiums. “If foreign players can’t go to hotels, can’t socialise, and remain escorted by armed commandos all the time, they would not feel comfortable. And this is not the way to bring international cricket back.”

The ex-ICC chairman said only when we convince ourselves that foreign teams would be safe in our country, can we satisfy others. He said inviting teams without improving security is madness because if another incident like attack on Sri Lankan team happened, it would be a nail in the coffin of cricket in Pakistan.

Mani, who became ICC chairman in 2003, said Pakistan must win the confidence of other countries to bring back the sport to the country. For instance, if Pakistan are to play a three-match ODI series against Australia, then after playing one match in Dubai and another in Abu Dhabi, the PCB could invite them to play the third match in Lahore or Karachi, he elaborated. He said it would take time but the board could remove the concerns of foreign teams by doing so.

He said he didn’t think Bangladesh would tour Pakistan any time soon. “We have seen that Bangladesh refused to send their team in the end. Later they agreed when we forced them but then moved to court and get a stay order against sending Bangladesh to Pakistan.”

Pakistan team will leave for India on December 22 where they are scheduled to play two Twenty20s and three ODIs, starting from December 25.
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