LAHORE: Pakistan’s participation in next year’s World T20 would now hinge directly on the fate of the bilateral series against India, a dismayed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan announced on Wednesday.
Khan was scheduled to meet Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar on Monday in Mumbai to discuss a bilateral series between the two teams but returned empty handed from after far-right political group Shiv Sena stormed the BCCI office in protest.
The 81-year-old former diplomat said it was unfortunate that India’s government and its cricket board had been hijacked by a ‘very small group’.
“I went to India upon the invitation of BCCI chief Shashank Manohar. But I was surprised at the indifferent attitude shown by the Indian officials. I would say they were not very good hosts and did not have the courtesy to reschedule the meeting after the first one was cancelled because of the protests,” Khan told reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
“The Indian government and its board have been hijacked by a very small minority but the majority want a series with Pakistan. But we will not run after India board,” he added.
Khan said the security situation in India, which forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to withdraw Aleem Dar from the India-South Africa series, was a cause for great concern and that Pakistan government would now assess things before clearing the team’s path to the World T20.
“As far as the World T20 is concerned, we will take a final decision on Pakistan’s participation after the BCCI gives us a clear answer on the bilateral series. The Pakistan government will also assess the security situation in India before we decide our future course of action,” he added.
On Monday, ICC president Zaheer Abbas described the situation as “complex” and said he feared for Pakistan’s participation in the World T20.
Abbas told television channels in Pakistan the two nations were due to play the first match in the World Twenty20 competition in India next March but the current scenario could disrupt the tournament.
“If there is so much fire in India and people are so against the series with Pakistan, then it will create difficulties for the World Twenty20,” the former Pakistani batsman said.
Pakistani players, he said, might refuse to tour India because their lives could “be at risk”.