The ICC is believed to have turned down the BCCI’s proposal for member countries to “sever” ties with other members that harbour terrorism, saying the ICC was not the appropriate forum to take such decisions. The proposal came in a letter sent by the BCCI soon after the terror attack in Pulwama, in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, in which more than 40 paramilitary troops were killed and for which a Pakistan-based terrorist group claimed responsibility, reported Cricinfo.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Shashank Manohar, the ICC chairman, brought up the matter towards the end of the quarterly Board meeting on Saturday and said it would not be possible to follow that proposal.
It is understood that Amitabh Choudhury, the BCCI’s acting secretary and its representative at the ICC Board, did not bring up the letter during the meetings. Manohar raised the topic himself, briefing the Board about receiving the BCCI letter and saying that the ICC’s primary duty concerned cricket.
The letter was sent on February 22 by Rahul Johri, the BCCI chief executive officer, and marked to Manohar along with ICC CEO David Richardson and the ECB chairman Colin Graves. Johri mentioned that the letter was being sent at the behest of the three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA), the supervisory authority of the BCCI till fresh elections are conducted.
Before sending the letter to the ICC, the CoA chairman Vinod Rai had even overseen a draft version calling for a complete ban on Pakistan from the upcoming World Cup.
Although there was speculation about the PCB being annoyed at the BCCI letter, none of the Pakistan officials at the ICC meetings are understood to have raised any objection. That included Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman, who attended the ICC Board meetings over the last two days.
However, given the fragile security situation between India and Pakistan, Mani did seek clarity over the issuance of visas to Pakistan players during the 2021 World T20 and the 2023 World Cup, both tournaments scheduled to be played in India. Mani is understood to have flagged his concern on the visas issue in a letter to Manohar.
Manohar is believed to have told Mani that as per the norm it was the tournament host’s obligation to secure the visas for all visiting teams and match officials and usually these issues are handled a year out from the tournament.
With India scheduled to play their World Cup match against Pakistan in Manchester on June 16, earlier this week, during the ICC’ chief executives committee meeting, Johri had asked for assurance from the ICC and ECB (the World Cup hosts) on the security of Indian players, match officials and fans that would be travelling to the England and Wales for the tournament that starts on May 30.
Richardson has now reiterated his comments, saying security of all the stakeholders – participants, fans and media – was of “paramount” importance. “As you would expect for a global sporting event, the ICC, in partnership with the ECB has a robust security plan in place for the Men’s Cricket World Cup,” he said at the conclusion of the meetings in Dubai. “We work closely with the authorities in our host countries to ensure that the safety of players, officials and fans is a priority.
“Should those authorities raise the threat level of the event based on intelligence, we will, of course, uplift our security commitment as appropriate. We will continue to work with the ECB and our members throughout the build-up to and during the tournament to keep everyone abreast of the situation.”