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‘We have our integrity. Why should we run behind India? If they want, they’ll come and play Pakistan’: Ex-PCB chairman

India-Pakistan bilateral cricket ties have been out on hold since almost 10 years now due to political tensions between the two nations. While the Pakistan Cricket Board has shown interest in playing India outside of ICC events, the sentiments haven’t been reciprocated by the BCCI as they have repeatedly stressed on the need of approval from the government. The last time India and Pakistan played a bilateral series was in 2012/13, when the Pakistan Cricket team toured the country for three ODIs. Ever since, the two nations have only faced each other in ICC events.

Former PCB chief Ehsan Mani, who was replaced by Ramiz Raja as the 36th chairman of the cricketing body in September, has said that during his tenure, he never ran after the BCCI for resumption of India-Pakistan cricket. Mani in fact, mentioned that he was always firm on his stance that the first step needs be taken by India.

“I always made it clear that if they want to play, they will come and play Pakistan. I never said no but I’ve always maintained that we have our own integrity, our honour. Why should we run behind India? We should not. When they will be ready, only then we will be ready too,” Mani told Cricket Pakistan.

Raja, the current PCB chairman, recently floated the idea of a four-nation T20 tournament, featuring India and Pakistan, a proposal which was unanimously turned down by the ICC in its board meeting last month. The decision was taken as the board felt such a tournament could not fix into the calendar cycle.

Raja has always been highly vocal about the resumption of India-Pakistan cricketing ties. After tickets for the India vs Pakistan fixture at the Melbourne Cricket Ground of this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia were sold out in record time, Raja called for India-Pakistan cricket outside of ICC events.

“Whenever I talk about India and Pakistan, it’s not always as the chairman of a Cricket Board. But it’s the cricketer that comes out. And as a cricketer, I’ll say that politics can be set aside because why should the fans not enjoy India-Pakistan games. The numbers and the figures are there for everyone to see why it is still the best competition in the world. And somehow, we’ve got to make it happen,” Raja had told the Indian Express.

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Desk Team