KARACHI: Although the Pakistan Cricket Board has claimed that refusal to play Pakistan in the 13-team ICC ODI championship and nine-team Test league will force India to forfeit their points in Pakistan’s favour, it is clear that India are not bound to play Pakistan in either of the championships.
The PCB has been saying that if India refuse to play Pakistan in the proposed ODI or Test leagues, they will have to forfeit points.
However, that’s not the case.
In fact, the ICC, in an official communiqué following its Board meeting earlier, had explained that the Test league will see nine teams play six series over two years – three home and three away – with each having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five, and all matches being played over five days culminating in a World Test League Championship Final.
This means India can still avoid playing against Pakistan in the Test league by opting to play against six other teams.
It is my understanding that no country is bound to play every country in these leagues and the leagues will be scheduled only after being mutually agreed upon by the two competing boards.
This understanding means that if the BCCI and PCB don’t agree upon playing against each other, then India vs Pakistan matches will not be made part of the Test league. In that case, there is no question of forfeiting the points.
Pakistan and India haven’t played a full series since 2007 due to political and diplomatic fallout between the two countries. However, they have met for a short ODI and T20I series in 2012/13 and have also faced each other in ICC tournaments.
Last year, India had to forfeit points in favour of Pakistan after they failed to play their series against Pakistan in the ICC Women’s championship.
“The technical committee was sensitive to the current state of relations between the nations of India and Pakistan, but concluded that the BCCI had not been able to establish ‘acceptable reasons’ for not participating in this series,” the ICC had said while deducting India’s points.
Also worth mentioning here is that this matter of bilateral relations is not limited to Pakistan and India only, as there are issues between England and Zimbabwe also. This means that even if a country is unable to play a series in the ICC Test or ODI League championships due to non-clearance from their respective governments, then they are highly unlikely to be penalised.
With the PCB now planning to pursue the case against BCCI in the ICC’s dispute committee next month, fans are likely to wait longer than expected to witness a full-fledged bilateral encounter.