Former ICC chairman Ehsan Mani is not surprised with the news that the Asia Cup is moved out from India.
Speaking exclusively, he says, “there are two important issues here, firstly under the current ICC Constitution there must be no government interference by the Indian Government in the affairs of BCCI. This includes, discouraging or stopping the Indian team from playing against any country, including Pakistan”. The ICC’s approach is disappointing. ICC should be not only taking this up most forcefully with the Indian Government but also taking action against BCCI for refusing to play against Pakistan (in India or Pakistan). This would certainly have been the case if IOC and FIFA were involved; government interference would have led to an automatic ban. Secondly the relationship between BCCI and PCB are historically at their lowest point with little or no relationship worth mentioning”.
“When I became the Chairman and President of ICC, India and Pakistan had not played against each other for several years. The representative of the Boards such as General Tauqir Zia and Shaharyar Khan from Pakistan and their counterparts from BCCI such as Jagmohan Dalmiya, I S Bindra, Raj Singh Dungarpur and Sharad Pawar had excellent personal relations. While there was no prohibition on government interference at that time the people who led BCCI and PCB were determined that their cricket relationships must not be affected by the politics between the two countries”.
“Soon after I became head of ICC I visited India and met several government ministers in the company of Dalmiya, Raj Singh and other senior BCCI officials and similarly I met with the president of Pakistan, General Musharraf. The message that was given to the governments was that as cricket administrators, it was our responsibility to protect the game and we did not want politics to harm the cricket relationship between the two countries.
We persevered in our efforts and eventually the India governments relented and agreed to allow India to tour Pakistan in 2004.