LAHORE: The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the entire schedule of international cricket upside down and Pakistan cricket is no exception of course.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) doesn’t know about how to continue with the planned schedule of tours and what measures to take to check the financial losses and how to adjust the suspended schedule into the next year if the pandemic crisis extends.
PCB chairman Ehsan Mani, speaking in a podcast session on Tuesday, sounded concerned about the many issues at hand. but appeared clueless as to how the PCB will deal with all the challenges ahead including holding of the matches even with empty stadiums, signing new media rights contracts and making logistics arrangements in view of the prevailing situation etc.
The chairman, however, said the PCB is sincere with all its commitments and by showing flexibility. It will meet the challenges as all cricket nations have to support each other in these testing times. He also said that the PCB will plan in future without considering any bilateral series against India as they had not remained reliable anymore.
“The biggest challenge ahead is of signing a new media rights contract, as the previous one has almost ended. We have to host big nations like Australia, New Zealand and England between now and 2023 and we have to play some matches against South Africa as well.
“But how we can do marketing for these important series under the current situation. It is a big challenge ahead since the uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic is shrouding the future,” he said. “On the other side broadcasters are also going through a difficult time as they are also under economic pressure. So perhaps they will not give us as much as they have been giving in the past,” he pointed out.
“Our biggest long time partner will also have to sign a new contract as the old one has expired. To sign a good contract, we both need certainty about the resumption of international cricket.
About the series against India, Mani said:
“In our planning, we will not include cricket against India will because in the past they have betrayed us twice. Though we don’t mix sports with politics, we know that India is unreliable and we will not plan anything with them in mind,” he stated. “However, if it happens out of the blue we will see it but it is not in our planning,” he said.
“Under the current situation, we have to prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best.”
Remember in past the PCB had signed media rights deal, twice including bilateral series against India in the plan. Though the media rights companies in the past had offered very generously for the Indo-Pak series, they paid very less for the other series against other countries. “In the end the PCB had to bear the losses as India did not play Pakistan,” he recalled.