190914 Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Image Credit: Gulf News archive

Dubai: Ehsan Mani, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), dismissed former speedster Shoaib Akhtar’s suggestion of an India-Pakistan series to help raise funds in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak - saying no such plan is on their minds now.

“We have suffered losses but they (India) are not in our thinking or planning. It is like a Pie in the Sky situation. We have to live without them and we don’t need them to survive,” he said in a podcast released by the PCB.

“I am clear if India doesn’t want to play we have to plan without them. Once or twice they have made promises to play against us but pulled out at the last moment.”


While this is the first response from either country’s cricket administration to Akhtar’s proposal - a number of former cricketers have already called the idea unrealistic in the present climate. Interestingly, Mani kept alive the possibility of hosting the Asia Cup with a remark that he was happy to see the two arch rivals play in multi-nation tournaments for now.

“Right now, we play against them (India) in ICC events and Asia Cup and that is okay because we are interested in playing cricket. We want to keep politics and sports apart,” he said.

“Both teams will keep on meeting in World Cups and ICC tournaments, but a series between them seem unlikely right now.”

The 2020 Asia Cup, which Pakistan is still scheduled to host in September, is likely to be moved to the UAE once again to ensure India’s participation in the continental event as the latter refused to play in Pakistan. However, the escalation of coronavirus cases around the world forced the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) to cancel their crucial meeting in early March in Dubai and the cricket officials are now keeping their fingers crossed about the fate of the tournament - as the entire cricket calendar for the year is now in limbo due to the pandemic.