KARACHI: ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dave Richardson has made it clear that the sport’s governing body cannot force India to play bilateral matches with Pakistan.
Talking to the media in Lahore, Richardson also dispelled the impression that the ICC had a bigger leaning towards India compared to Pakistan cricket.
“If India is not ready to play with Pakistan, we can’t force them to do so,” he said.
He said obviously the ICC wanted good relations among all its member nations and discouraged member countries from being involved in legal battles with each other.
“You have to understand that bilateral series is always held with the agreement of two cricket boards and though we would like to see India and Pakistan play bilateral matches they have political tensions and any cricket is dependent on their existing relations,” Richardson said.
He, however, insisted that if India and Pakistan were in the same group in any ICC event they would have to play against each other.
While India has steadfastly refused to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan since 2008, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has maintained it is getting ready to file a compensation claim with the ICC’s disputes resolution committee against the BCCI for not honouring an MoU signed between the two boards in 2014.
The ICC CEO said the world body remained neutral when it came to Indo-Pak cricket relations.
“We are aware that Pakistan has even offered BCCI the option of playing at neutral venues and they are going to the ICC disputes resolution committee with their claim but we remain neutral,” Richardson said.
Richardson said that in the existing situation it didn’t appear likely for India and Pakistan to resume bilateral ties soon.
“India gives the ICC a lot of business but in our eyes all member nations are equal,” he added.