ICC also accepted the Indian Board’s contention that bilateral cricketing relations between the neighbours were always dependent on governmental approval, which was not forthcoming in this case.
The last two days have not been great for Pakistan cricket. After the team failed to achieve a modest fourth-innings target in Abu Dhabi, going down by four runs to New Zealand, insult was added to injury when the ICC Dispute Resolution Committee rejected its Rs 447 crore claim against BCCI for refusing to play six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023. “The PCB’s claim is dismissed. Costs are reserved. The judgement is binding and non-appealable.”
With these three short sentences, the panel chaired by Michael J Beloff and comprising Annabelle Bennett and Jan Paulsson poured cold water on PCB’s contention that the Indian Cricket Board had reneged on a contract to visit for bilateral series against Pakistan. The panel agreed to the BCCI viewpoint that the agreement alluded to in a letter by then BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel to then PCB chairman Najam Sethi was nothing more than a “moral obligation” and could not be termed a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU).
It also accepted the Indian Board’s contention that bilateral cricketing relations between the neighbours were always dependent on governmental approval, which was not forthcoming in this case. And in comments that alluded to India’s clout in the world game, the committee said that “The BCCI may have had the wish (to play against Pakistan), but it was the PCB which had the need.”
“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 a 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.”