Bengaluru, September 24: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani said the PCB is willing to explore the possibility of resuming bilateral cricketing ties with India. Mani said the PCB is ready to hold talks with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at the earliest.
Mani said the on-going legal dispute between the BCCI and PCB and the hearing to set to begin at Dubai from October 1 will have no effect on the resumption of ties. Pakistan are claiming USD 70 million from India for not playing two bilateral series - in November 2014 and December 2015 - which were agreed by the boards in 2014 as part of the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP).
"Cricket boards have to work towards playing cricket, they shouldn't get into politics, that's what we're talking with our Indian counterparts," he said. "There's some bridge-building to do, hopefully we will be able to make some ground because the relations haven't been great.
"I have already had a very constructive discussion with my colleagues from India who are here. We'll have a lot of common ground going forward. We all understand whatever has happened in the past has happened; we have to move forward. At the end of the day, the game is bigger than any one person; it's bigger than the politicians. It reaches out across global spectrum."
Mani said he met with BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri and acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary on the sidelines of the Asian Cricket Council meeting last week.
"When an India-Pakistan match is played, over a 100 billion people watch the game from all over the world. No one cares about the politics," said Mani. "The main thing is to get the cricket going and this is a main thing in that direction. I am very hopeful the board will work towards it. Am not saying we will get results on day one but we will work towards the common goal. The boards' endeavour should be for cricket, not anything else.
"When politicians talk, we shouldn't get it into it. We should focus on matters concerning the cricket boards. When the Kargil incident happened (in 1999), even then we didn't stop dialogues. We knew cricket was tough, but every effort was made to renew bilateral ties. I strongly believe politics and politicians shouldn't influence cricket," said Mani.