The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has forcefully ruled out paying any compensation to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for not playing bilateral cricket with the cross-border neighbours. The Indian cricket board has also said that the PCB misconstrued a “tentative understanding” as a formal agreement. The BCCI reiterated that bilateral cricket with Pakistan was subject to Government approval, something that was not in the board’s control.
“The BCCI is not liable to compensate the Pakistan Cricket Board (“PCB”) as asserted by you. The letter dated 9th April 2014 enclosed along with your Letter contemplated that the BCCI and the PCB will enter into a long form FTP Agreement in respect of the tours specified therein. The tentative understanding set out in the letter dated 9th April 2014 has not been formalised by way of a long form FTP Agreement, as was contemplated,” the BCCI letter, sent on Wednesday evening, said.
On May 3, the PCB had slapped a notice on the BCCI for defaulting on a bilateral series twice as per the MoU signed between the two cricket boards in 2014. The PCB also claimed a compensation of $69,576,405.
On April 9, 2014, then BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had sent a letter to Najam Sethi, who was the PCB chairman then, agreeing to play 12 Tests, 30 ODIs and 12 T20 internationals between 2015 and 2022. Patel also said: “BCCI will make all efforts to engage in a limited over format short tour to Pakistan in November of 2014 based on the availability of possible dates.” But with the escalation in cross-border tensions, India-Pakistan bilateral cricket ties went on the backburner. The BCCI had approached the Union Home Ministry regarding the resumption of the bilateral series but didn’t get the permission to play even at a neutral venue, because the atmosphere wasn’t right.
The PCB, meanwhile, had threatened legal action against the BCCI for breaching the MoU and eventually sent a notice of dispute.
“In any event, the BCCI is not responsible for not i) engaging in a limited over format short tour to Pakistan in November 2014; and/or ii) playing the series scheduled for December 2015 since the same (as you are well aware) are, by their very nature, dependent on a whole host of factors including but not limited to the absence of necessary approvals/permissions/clearances (including from the Government of India), which are beyond the control of BCCI,” the Indian cricket board’s letter said.
The BCCI has also advised the PCB to view its earlier missive, April 9, 2014, “in context”, including the “diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan”.
A veiled warning
Grapevine has it that the PCB might use India’s weakened position at the ICC; trying to have the global body on its side to put pressure on the BCCI. But the Indian board’s letter on Wednesday had a veiled warning. “Needless to state, this response is without prejudice to any rights, remedies and contentions available to the BCCI in relation to your Letter… Nothing contained in your Letter shall be deemed to be admitted by the BCCI.”
India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012-13. The arch-rivals, however, are scheduled to meet for the ICC Champions Trophy Group B fixture at Birmingham on June 4.