LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan rebuffed suggestions from newly-appointed ICC president Zaheer Abbas that Pakistan should show flexibility and even consider going to India for their bilateral series.

Former Pakistan batting great Zaheer said on Monday that the PCB should be willing to go to India for their home series in December to ensure the revival of cricketing ties between two countries but Shaharyar said that they will wait for a final reply from the BCCI till October.

“We will not go to India to play our bilateral series there and I’m writing a letter to the BCCI to clear our stance and we will wait for their reply till October,” the PCB chief told Dawn on Tuesday.

According to the MoU signed between the PCB and the BCCI last year, six bilateral series in the next eight years are planned.

The PCB is to host the first one in the UAE in December but the Indian government, citing political reasons, hasn’t allowed the BCCI to confirm participation.

“It seems they don’t want to play a bilateral series as they are raising political issues while the PCB believes that sports should not be mixed with politics,” Shaharyar said.

He admitted that if the series wasn’t held, it would deprive the PCB of huge revenue and “wouldn’t be good for both the game and the financial position of the board”.

“India shouldn’t mix politics with sport,” he added. “Cricket is a source of great entertainment for the people of the two countries and the series between the arch-rivals is bigger than the Ashes.”

Shaharyar indicated the PCB had already made a Plan-B, to help minimise losses, which will be implemented after they have heard the BCCI’s final decision.

Although he didn’t disclose the details of that plan, sources have told Dawn that it isn’t related to any cricketing activity.

A strong austerity campaign may be launched to reduce the PCB expenditure to minimize the losses — approximately US$50million — which will be suffered if the India series doesn’t go ahead as planned. A short-sizing of PCB staff may also be included in the austerity campaign.

On the issue of the tainted duo of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif featuring in the domestic season, Shaharyar said that the PCB had handed them a rehabilitation programme which they had to complete first before making their comeback in phases.

Salman and Asif, who were caught in the infamous spot-fixing scandal in 2010, were cleared by the ICC last week to feature in domestic cricket from September 2 after their punishments were reduced but the PCB has refrained from allowing them to return just yet.

“Under the rehabilitation programme, they [Salman and Asif] will have to visit all the regions and enlighten the players about the consequences of any negative activity,” Shaharyar said. “After that, they can play club cricket and then Grade-II cricket.”

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