The ICC’s Dispute Resolution Committee, which dismissed PCB’s compensation claim against the BCCI, has stated it was Pakistan that needed bilateral cricket between the two countries while India ‘may have had the wish’. In its 26-page judgement, the ICC panel explained why it rejected PCB’s Rs 447 crore compensation claim against the BCCI for not playing six bilateral series between 2015 to 2023.
“In terms of any Indian tour to Pakistan, it was the PCB which was the suppliant. It was the host country which benefitted from the revenues in respect of such as tour. Bankrupts cannot be choosers, and while the PCB was certainly not bankrupt, at the very least sacrifice of such a tour would, as Mr (Subhan) Ahmad (PCB COO) put it, ‘definitely make a dent in our financial reserves’,” said the panel.
“The prospect of bilateral tours with India as tourist was, in the PCB’s own words, ‘the most valuable prize in world cricket’ but ex hypothesi for other ICC Members, not the BCCI itself.
“By contrast there was no necessity for the BCCI, the dominant force in world cricket in the modern era, to play away against Pakistan. The BCCI may have had the wish, but it was the PCB which had the need.”
The panel also referred to the view of then BCCI GM Ratnakar Shetty on the resumption of Indo-Pak cricketing ties. “The record shows unequivocally that it was the PCB which, from 9 January 2014, the date of the ICC meeting in Dubai, took the initiative in seeking to agree future matches with the BCCI, not vice versa.
“Although it is common ground that, as Professor Shetty put it, ‘India-Pakistan matches are the best possible games that can happen and neither of these two boards would not like to have that’.”
The panel took into account the tense relations between the two neighbours. “In March 2015, there was a major terrorist attack on a police station in Jammu and Kashmir, which led to the deaths of several security personnel. In July 2015, there was another attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab which led to several security personnel and civilians losing their lives.
“In August 2015 there was a further incident in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir. Such attacks were said to have been perpetrated by Pakistan-based terrorist organisations. The PCB was well aware of the potential impact of these circumstances upon the proposed tours.”
The Dispute Resolution Committee even quoted then PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan’s letter to Pakistan Prime Minister in 2015. “The PCB Chairman’s letter to the Pakistan Prime Minister dated 20 August 2015 stated: ‘The Indian government has seemingly withheld its permission for India to play Pakistan stating that the cricket series would be inappropriate in the current atmosphere of tension at the borders, Lakhvi’s release, Gurdaspur incidents. Accordingly, there is a possibility that India would not agree to honour its commitment to play its series with Pakistan’.”
“His (PCB chief) pessimism was justified,” added the panel.