Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf has said that the national team’s recent resurgence has left arch-rivals India afraid to take them on and is forcing the delays in bilateral resumptions.
The neighbours have not played a Test series since 2007 but there were hopes of a thaw after the sides met in the World Cup semi-final last March. The teams are slated to play each other under the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme this year as well. But India’s hectic schedule has made it difficult to find a slot for the bilateral series, prompting Ashraf to accuse the Indian board of running scared.
“Because of the way our team is performing and the way their team is doing in Australia, maybe India are afraid,” said Ashraf. “For them, losing to Australia isn’t an emotional matter. But there are more emotions attached if they lose to Pakistan.”
India were routed 4-0 in their Test series in Australia to record eight consecutive away defeats, while Pakistan have not lost a series since August 2010. Ashraf complained that all requests by the PCB to revive relations had been unsuccessful.
“We’re ready to play against them when their prime minister and board president want the teams to play. Maybe it’s their selectors and team management who are afraid of facing Pakistan.”
India lose chief sponsor
Meanwhile, Indian cricket was hit by a major crisis when the long-time sponsor of the national team pulled out over differences with the board.
The Sahara group of companies, which has been a cricket sponsor since 2000, said in a statement that it was ending what it called a ‘one-sided emotional relationship’ with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“We feel such a one-sided emotional relationship can’t be dragged any further,” read the company statement. “We’re withdrawing from all cricket under the BCCI.”
Sahara also withdrew its ownership of the Pune Warriors team in the Indian Premier League over a dispute with the BCCI.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2012.
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