Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani on Monday expressed delight at Pakistan’s ability to host a Test match series successfully in the country for the first time in more than a decade. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in Karachi to win the 2-match series 1-0 and open their account in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship standings. The Player-of-the-Series award was given to Pakistan debutant Abid Ali for slamming centuries in both the Test matches.
Mani was appointed as the PCB chairman in August 2018 and it is no coincidence that he has prioritised getting international cricket back to Pakistan after years of playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates. He began with the country’s top T20 competition, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to gradually host all their matches in Pakistan. At the same time, international teams or players through teams such as the World XI were convinced and invited to play matches for a short duration with much success.
While Mani has been lauded by many for his efforts, he has once again drawn criticism from several quarters for bragging about Pakistan’s improved security situation. In an interview on Monday with Cricket Pakistan, he claimed that his country has proven once again that safety is no longer an issue for international teams following the success of the recent Sri Lanka series. The Lankans visited the country two months ago for 3 ODIs and T20Is each respectively as well.
However, Mani controversially added that Pakistan’s security is far better at present than their arch-rivals India’s and that teams should have better judgement when it comes to this issue by not doubting Pakistan anymore. India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads in politics, which has clearly spilt on to cricket. The two countries have not played with each other in a bilateral series since 2012 and the prospect looks highly unlikely after the Pulwama terror attacks in February 2019.
Mani had famously said last year that Pakistan will not ‘beg’ to play cricket with India. This was a few months before Pakistan lost a legal battle against India which involved the ICC after the PCB had filed a case about India not honouring its commitments of playing against Pakistan since 2014. The PCB was forced to pay a whopping $1.6 million to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for its callousness. Surely, it will be interesting to see if the BCCI reacts to his latest comments or cause more trouble to the PCB for the same.