The Financial Impact Of The Asia Cup-the Cancellation Of The Pakistan Is Small - Ehsan Mani > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Financial impact of Asia Cup cancellation on Pakistan is minimal - Ehsan Mani

Ehsan Mani confirmed that the decision to scrap Asia Cup this year was taken with full majority of the members of ACC

Ehsan Mani confirmed that the decision to scrap Asia Cup this year was taken with full majority of the members of ACC

For almost two years now, Ehsan Mani has served as the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Even as PCB has seen some major changes in his tenure, especially with regards to the revamp of the domestic structure and increase in pay for the women cricketers, some of the older issues haven't been sorted completely - on dealing with corruption and bringing back international cricket to Pakistan.

In an interview with Cricbuzz, the PCB chairman opens up on issues of Pakistan cricket, the impact of COVID-19, the way forward and more:


What was your biggest challenge when you took over PCB and what have you achieved so far?

Improving the governance of the board. The powers of the chairman were very wide with little day-to-day checks and balances. The chairman was also the chief executive, there was a conflict of interest. The chairman leads the board which sets the policy which should be implemented by the chief executive and his team. I was of the view that the chairman should not hold both roles. I set about separating the two roles to eliminate the conflict of interest and improve transparency in the way the board conducted its affairs. We now have a chief executive who leads the management team with properly documented delegated powers. We have introduced transparency in the way the board conducts its business; our audited financial statements are published on our website, the expenses of the chairman and the Board of Directors are published and updated on a quarterly basis.

Bringing back cricket in the country was your main agenda. How far have you achieved this? Don't you think playing against big opponents in your own backyard is still your biggest challenge?

Pakistan played its international home series at neutral venues for 10 years. Getting international cricket back in Pakistan has been a top priority. Playing in virtually empty stadiums in neutral venues without fan support has been very tough for our players. Our default position now is that we will play all our home series in Pakistan. In the past nine months, we have hosted Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the MCC in Pakistan. We have hosted directors and/or chief executives from England, Australia, Ireland, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the past nine months as well as the Chief Executive of the ICC and some other ICC board members.

How much has Pakistan lost due to the COVID-19 break? Has there been an assessment of that?

We have had to postpone one Test and one ODI against Bangladesh, and as I mentioned earlier, four PSL matches have been postponed. Our next home series is against Zimbabwe at the end of the year.

The domestic cricket was revamped just last season. Without too many sponsors and broadcast rights holders, how do you see that getting affected?

We revamped the whole domestic structure, now six teams play first-class cricket. Each team will be run independently by a cricket association with its own board and management structure. Each cricket association will have a Second XI as well, Under each cricket association there will be an average of 16 cities playing inter-city cricket. Therefore, approximately 98 cities playing cricket which will act as the feeder for the first-class teams runs by the cricket associations. Each city will have clubs, schools and universities playing under the new structure. We are including women's cricket as part of these structures.

Another challenge has been that due to the lack of international cricket in Pakistan for 10 years our stadiums and infrastructure had been badly neglected. We are spending significant resources to upgrade the stadiums, improving wickets and improve fan experience.

We are confident that, as we roll out the revamped domestic structure, we will attract commercial sponsors. We have relied on Sony and Ten Sports for the broadcast of our international cricket; we are carrying out a review of how best we cover the broadcast of our international and domestic cricket going forward.

In what way will women's cricket in Pakistan be impacted due to the lack of funds?

We will not only continue to invest in women's cricket but also increase the funding for it.

Is there any update on when will the remaining matches of PSL be played?

30 out of 34 scheduled Pakistan Super League matches were played in Pakistan this year before COVID-19 cut short the PSL. We hope that we will complete the season by the end of this year.

How big a blow is the loss of Asia Cup? What's the financial impact?

The staging of the Asia Cup has been postponed due to circumstances beyond the control of any of the ACC countries. The Sri Lankan Cricket Board and PCB agreed some time ago that Sri Lanka would host the next Asia Cup instead of Pakistan, as it is more likely that Sri Lanka will be in a position to host it as the COVID-19 impact there appears to be in better control than in most countries in our region. The financial impact on Pakistan is minimal; the importance of the Asia Cup is that it generates funds for the development of the emerging cricket nations in Asia. There is complete consensus within ACC on the timing of the Asia Cup.

In such a scenario, how critical is an India-Pakistan series for Pakistan and for global cricket?

Pakistan-India matches are the most watched cricket matches in the world. However, apart from ICC and ACC events we do not play against each other due to the policy of the Indian Government. It is good for the health of global cricket that we play against each other, however, in our planning we do not take into account any bilateral series against India.

Has the relationship between BCCI and PCB soured in the last few years? Is there fear that the pandemic may have inadvertently pushed a return of the Big 3?

PCB has no issues with BCCI. I do not have a fear that some countries will put their interests ahead of what is good for the game as a whole. We all owe a duty of care to the global game and the well-being of world cricket and not put our short term interests before it.

To that extent, how critical is the next person on the ICC chairperson?

A good leader will bring countries together and act in the best interest of all the Full and Associate ICC Members. Shashank Manohar was excellent and provided the leadership ICC needed at a difficult time. I hope that the next chairperson will do the same.

Pakistan recently approved draft to make match-fixing a criminal offence. Do you think this is the only way to combat corruption?

Having the appropriate legal framework to go after corruptors and match fixers is very important. We have to have the strongest possible deterrent to protect the game. I believe that every major cricket playing country should criminalize match-fixing.

Pakistan has played just 5 WTC games so far. It looks increasingly unlikely that teams can all finish quotas before a final next June. Would Pakistan moot the idea of scrapping WTC?

This is a matter for the ICC board to discuss. The WTC gives context to Test Cricket which is important.

Would playing more limited overs games be financially more viable - simply from broadcasting and sponsorship point of view?

Cricket should not be only about money. Test cricket is the ultimate test of the skills of a player and a vital part of the game.

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