The BCCI has angrily accused Pakistan of looking for a reason to pull out of the world T20, which is due to be staged in India this year.
The astonishing claim comes after comments from the chairman of the Pakistan board last week calling for their Indian counterparts to guarantee that fans and journalists as well as their players would get visas for the event.
If that guarantee did not come by the end of March, Ehsan Mani said, they would push for it to be moved to another country, probably the United Arab Emirates.
The relationship between the two countries is at a low ebb, with the arch rivals not having played a full bilateral series since 2007, with meetings restricted to ICC tournaments and the Asia Cup.
A BCCI official said the call was even more extraordinary considering what he called Mani’s “wonderful” working relationship with Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president, and that the two of them had collaborated closely during the pandemic.
“It was surprising to read Ehsan Mani’s comments, especially in the background of the wonderful working relationship that he shares with Sourav Ganguly at the ICC,” he said. “He is a gentleman and had in fact been a guide for Sourav during the pandemic along with Shashank (Manohar). One can’t help but think that it is very immature of Mani to give a statement like this.
“It is almost as if he is either desperately looking for a way out of his team playing in the tournament or he is grandstanding for some constituency back home.
“If they want to make it a political issue, it is of course their own wish. They do know that a cricket board of a country has absolutely no locus standi [legal right] to give any assurance on an issue which is not in their purview and is firmly in the decision-making sphere of the government.”
Mani had told reporters: “We are not seeking written assurance for the visas of the national team only, but for the fans, officials and journalists as well. We have told the ICC that India should give written assurances by the end of March so that we know where we stand or we will push for the relocation of the World Cup from India to UAE.”