India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads due to political tensions between the two countries for a long time now. Both the teams haven't played each other in a bilateral series since 2012-13. That series had also taken place after a gap of 5 years. There hasn't been a single India vs Pakistan Test match since 2007. Fans have witnessed India vs Pakistan contests only in ICC tournaments and Asia Cups.
Recently, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was delivering a speech at the first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue where he had said that it was time for both India and Pakistan to bury their past differences and move forward. Now, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has echoed the Pakistani army chief's sentiments and stated that he is optimistic about hosting India in Pakistan for Asia Cup 2023.
While speaking to a Pakistan-based Urdu newspaper, Jang, Ehsan Mani said that there have been some positive signs through 'backdoor channels' in recent times, which is why he is hopeful that the relations between India and Pakistan will improve in the coming years. Moreover, a lot will depend on Mani himself, who will be hinging his hopes on his relations with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly at the ICC level.
Mani had recently made a demand for visa assurance for Pakistan players, fans and media personnel in time for this year’s T20 World Cup in India. The tournament is scheduled to be held between October and November later this year. Apparently, Mani’s demand has surprised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), with one of the senior board officials describing his comments as “immature”.
While speaking with ANI, a BCCI official said that Ehsan Mani’s comments were “immature” because the Indian government have already given their clear stance on issuing visas to visiting players for sporting events in the country. The official added, “It was surprising to read Mani’s comments, especially in the background of his working relationship with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly at the ICC”.
The official even claimed that Ehsan Mani is a “gentleman” who has been a “guide” for Sourav Ganguly during the pandemic. According to the official, the PCB chief gave a very “immature” statement considering his status in the cricketing world. The BCCI official was of the opinion that Ehsan Mani is either “desperately looking for a way out of his team playing in the T20 World Cup 2021” or he is simply trying to attract “some constituency back home”.
Meanwhile, it has been learned that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is targetting the June window for rescheduling the remaining matches of this year's Pakistan Super League (PSL 2021) that had to be postponed indefinitely after just 14 matches due to the coronavirus outbreak in the participating teams. If the PSL 2021 takes place in June, Pakistan's premier T20 League will be able to avoid a clash with IPL 2021. The IPL 2021 is slated to be played from April 9 to May 30.
Speaking about the same, Mani said that there was a small window for the Asia Cup in June in which they are going to play the rest of the PSL matches. He added that the Indian team is also busy as they will play the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand, which means the Men in Blue have to go to England two weeks ago and stay in quarantine.
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