Anurag Thakur, Former BCCI president Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: The International Cricket Committee’s (ICC) hearing on Pakistan Cricket Board’s $70 million claim for India twice refusing to play a bilateral series has commenced at the ICC headquarters in the Dubai Sports City.

The PCB has claimed that a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2014 had guaranteed six bilateral series between 2015 and 2023.

An ICC spokesperson told Gulf News that any information on the outcome will be made only after the decision is made in the coming days.

The three-day hearing has commenced with a three-member ICC Disputes Resolution Committee headed by barrister Michael Beloff, who is also the chairman of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission addressing the issue.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has hired UK-based international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and sports disputes specialist Ian Mill.

The BCCI had claimed that India cannot play in Pakistan unless cleared by their government. The PCB had even suggested hosting the bilateral series in the UAE but India has refused.

The BCCI have responded that any series can be held only subject to their government approval and hence dismissed the agreement as not legally binding.

All sporting ties between India and Pakistan including cultural events have crashed since the 2008 militant attacks in Mumbai, which India has blamed it on Pakistani militant groups.

ICC’s chief executive David Richardson last week had urged the two nations to resolve the matter between themselves rather than seeking arbitration. “It is a matter between India and Pakistan. We would like the resumption of ties between the two nations on a bilateral basis. We will facilitate any settlement decision if we can. Other than that, it is up to the two nations,” said Richardson.

It is understood that the former BCCI president N Srinivasan and Anurag Thakur have refused to attend the ICC’s hearing though they were part of the agreement. Thakur speaking to Indian media felt that India have done nothing wrong to appear in a judicial hearing and that too summoned by the ICC as India and Pakistan issue is a bilateral matter.

Thakur even went on to say: “India should not pay a penny to Pakistan.” He went on to say that in 2015 Australia refused to tour Bangladesh citing security reasons and that India’s refusal to play Pakistan is the same.

When during the Asia Cup, Ehsan Mani, the new chairman of PCB, was asked whether the issue can be amicably settled, he said: “This process has already gone beyond resolving it amicably. It’s in the final stages of reaching a conclusion. Both sides have to find a common solution for the future and I’ll explore every possibility for the sake of the game.”