By Sohail Ali
LAHORE, Oct 17 (APP): Just three days before the Zimbabwe cricket team is scheduled to touch down in Islamabad for a three ODI and three T20I series, the Pakistan Cricket Board reiterated it has not paid any extra money to the visitors to undertake the FTP tour as was the case with them in 2015.
“The PCB paid Zimbabwe, a World XI and West Indies players between 2015 and 2018. We believe that was the right move then and was done to build confidence in the visiting players, the cricket boards and to help revive cricket in Pakistan.
“However, the PCB has moved on very quickly from this. It is now focusing on building, developing and strengthening trust, confidence and credibility in the eyes of the cricketing world,” PCB chief executive officer, Wasim Khan told the Associated Press of Pakistan in an exclusive interview here on Sunday.
“The need to entice international players to Pakistan by offering handsome financial rewards is now firmly behind us. Instead, the PCB will invest these valuable funds into our women’s cricket, upgrading our infrastructure, improving domestic and international player contracts and developing world-class coach education programmes,” Wasim, a former first-class cricketer and a Warwick Business School graduate, said.
The PCB reportedly paid USD12,500 to each Zimbabwe player in 2015, while each member of the World XI received up to USD100,000 in 2017.
The PCB also paid the West Indies side in access of USD250,000 in 2018 to play three T20Is in Karachi. In addition, the ICC paid an independent security firm US$1.2million over three years as part of its contribution for the resumption of cricket in Pakistan.
In 2014, the PCB had announced it will play India in six bilateral series from 2015 and 2023. However, it turned out to be a disaster as the PCB ended up paying around USD1.6 million as compensation to the BCCI after losing a battle in the ICC Dispute Resolution Committee, which was 60 per cent of the legal cost.
“The return of Test cricket after 10 years was underpinned by the visits of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively, while additionally, an MCC team toured Lahore after 48 years.
“Furthermore, the delivery of 30 matches of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 at four Pakistan venues, which included 37 foreign players after nearly 425 players had expressed their interest, further evidenced that our country is as safe and as secure as any place in the world.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board’s positive intent of visiting Pakistan for a short three T20I series in January 2021 is a clear indictor that after the 2019-2020 season, international teams can feel a real level of confidence coming to Pakistan, fully aware that our safety and security provisions are robust and our hospitality remains second to none,” said Wasim.
On the series against India, the former Leicestershire County Cricket Club chief executive reiterated the PCB had now moved on from the never-ending discussion about whether India will play Pakistan.
“Unlike many boards who need to play India from a financial perspective, the PCB has taken an unprecedented and unique step of signing a ground-breaking domestic US$200million deal with PTV Sports and I-Media Communications Services. This will see all home internationals, domestic, women’s and age-group cricket being shown on PTV Sports for, at least, the next three years.
“As well as the commercial value of Pakistan versus India matches in ICC tournaments, everyone is aware of the value of bilateral cricket between both nations.
However, just as importantly, from a purely cricketing perspective, fans around the world will continue to be deprived of watching and following what is arguably the fiercest rivalry in world sport.
“Instead of dwelling on the fact that before it can play Pakistan, the BCCI has to seek permission from its government that demonstrates polarizing policies and anti-Pakistan rhetoric, the PCB remains highly focused on what lies ahead.
“We have home series against Zimbabwe, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England in the next two years. These series will surely will provide the cricket fans and followers plenty of quality cricket, thrill and excitement, which will be extremely pleasing and satisfying for us as PCB” concluded the 49-year-old who had joined the PCB in February 2019 on a three-year contract.