Najam Sethi    AFP
Najam Sethi AFP

Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has warned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that his country can exercise their ‘right’ to pull out of the Asia Cup, which India is all set to host in September next year. Expressing his views on their arch-rivals’ objection over Pakistan hosting the 2018 Emerging Teams Asia Cup, Sethi said that the PCB will decide whether the team will travel to India or not for the main event.”I also raised the point that since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaiting an approval from the government to hold the Asia Cup and wants the visa clearance of all the participating teams, the PCB will decide whether to go to India or not because we are also bound by our government’s clearance,” Sethi told Dawn.

Representatives from India and Bangladesh were absent during the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Lahore earlier in October, after they had raised an issue to Pakistan hosting the Emerging Teams Asia Cup, which will be held in April 2018.”The ACC Development Committee head and Sri Lanka Cricket chairman Thilanga Sumathipala tried to convince India and Bangladesh that they were also invited to attend the meeting [in Lahore] but they did not come. So the committee, with majority members’ votes, went on to make the decision in favour of Pakistan,” Sethi added.

In 2014, both BCCI and PCB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which stated that the two countries would play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. According to the 2014 agreement, India was scheduled to play six series against Pakistan, four of them were going to be Pakistan’s home series. While the BCCI has repeatedly snubbed Pakistan’s request for resumption of ties, the PCB wants its Indian counterpart to honour its commitment under the MoU signed, which is subjected to clearance from the Government of India.

Pakistan was expected to generate bulk of revenue in these eight years by hosting India, but since BCCI denied playing the series in wake of tensions between the two countries, the PCB suffered huge financial losses due to it. Earlier this year, the BCCI had rejected the PCB’s demand for compensation for not honouring the MoU, saying that the MoU was not binding and also raised the issue of security problems in Pakistan. In May, the PCB had sent a legal notice to its Indian counterpart for failing to honour the MoU.

“If Pakistan wins the case, India will have to give us the matches and for that purpose the Future Tours Programme (FTP) will be changed. And if we lose, the same FTP with some minor changes may go ahead,” Sethi said on Wednesday. Earlier, the PCB had maintained that they would only approve the new FTP proposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the dispute with India over resumption of bilateral series is resolved.

The 14th edition of the Asia Cup will be held from September 15 to 30, 2018 in India.