PCB does not deserve bashing over delay in PSL, Wasim Khan says


KARACHI: Wasim Khan, the chief executive of Pakistan Cricket Board, has said that the obstacles that caused delays in PSL remainders were beyond PCB’s control and the board did not deserve any bashing over a late start to the tournament.

In a wide-ranging interview to Geo News, the PCB CEO spoke about various issues, from the PSL remainders, Pakistan’s future commitments, tours to Pakistan by various teams, the players’ mental health and the possible return of Mohammad Aamir.

Wasim said that issues around PSL remainders in Abu Dhabi were beyond PCB’s control and it was unfair to blame PCB and call it mismanagement. “It would’ve been PCB’s mismanagement only if things were in PCB’s control,” he said.

“It was not in our hands. I’ve explained it to people that visas or aviation matters aren’t in our control, we did all what we could. We had prepared five different schedules and once we got everything sorted, we got it signed by franchises and announced the schedule,” he said.

“If PCB wasn’t doing things right, the PSL wouldn’t have been taking place,” he added.

The remainders of PSL are now scheduled to be played from June 9 in Abu Dhabi. The matches briefly faced some obstacles before the final schedule was announced due to logistic issues mainly because of Indian and South African participants in the production team for the league.

Wasim emphasised that it was important for the brand to see the tournament completed. He confirmed that all the additional cost of staging matches in Abu Dhabi will be borne by the PCB.

“We will have to see the accounts later. It may not be some big loss but surely the revenue of PCB will be minimised due to additional expenses,” he said.

He also said that the business model of the Pakistan Super League is being reviewed and it will be revised to make it more profitable for the franchises. He added that there won’t be a 7th team until all six franchises become profitable.

The sixth edition of PSL was suspended in March after a coronavirus outbreak in the bio-secure bubble set up in Karachi. After an investigation following the incident, PCB’s then head of medical Dr Sohail had to resign.

While Dr Sohail in an interview claimed that he was made the scapegoat for the turn of events that occurred, the PCB chief executive disagreed that anyone was made the scapegoat. Wasim said the bio secure bubble was managed by the medial team and one had to take responsibility if anything went wrong.

Plans for international cricket

He, however, was confident that the incidents that occurred in March will not affect Pakistan’s plan to host international cricket in future.

“We were recently in discussions with New Zealand cricket and we are working to finalise the schedule of New Zealand team’s tour to Pakistan. They’ll be arriving here by mid September to play three ODIs and 5 T20Is followed by the England team’s tour to Pakistan in October,” he said.

“None have expressed any concerns about bio-secure arrangements in Pakistan,” the PCB chief executive said, while adding that PCB will hire services of a UK-based company to prepare the bio-secure environment for Pakistan’s bilateral home series.

Wasim said that the Australian Cricket team is also scheduled to tour Pakistan for a full series in February next year and to make window for the series, PCB will have to tweak its PSL7 window.

“We are discussing possibilities with franchises. We may prepone PSL2022 to January because a change in programme with the Australian team is unlikely,” he said. Wasim also revealed that an inspection team from Australia will visit Pakistan during the home series against New Zealand.

The PCB chief confirmed that Pakistan is preparing to bid for ICC events including World Cups, which includes women’s and U19 events as well. He said that a few bids will be submitted jointly with the UAE.

More Tests needed

Wasim also reiterated that Pakistan needs to play more Test matches in the future cycle of events and there won’t be anymore 2-Tests series.

“We will try to pencil at least 3-Tests in series in our future tour cycle,” he said.

‘Want Mohammad Amir to withdraw retirement decision’

While expressing full confidence on Misbah-ul-Haq, the PCB chief also indicated his desire to have Mohammad Aamir withdraw his retirement decision.

“Pakistan team is currently doing well, it did defeat South Africa on its home ground which is a big thing — you can’t underestimate that victory. Also, we are heading towards world cup and that’s the most important thing and we are focused on preparing for the World Cup. There’s no thought about removing Waqar or Misbah at this stage and we fully back them,” he said.

“Mohammad Aamir is a good guy, he has worked hard. The PCB didn’t have any issues with him. I’ve talked to him and told him that if there is any way we can sit and discuss the issues, we should. I’ve heard that Babar is also going to speak to him to have his mind changed, lets see what he decides. I would like to have him back but I can’t force him if he has made his mind,” Wasim said.

PCB will support bubble-fatigued players

He said that PCB will support the players if they want to opt out of any series due to mental health issues during the ongoing pandemic because of bio-secure bubble fatigue.

“We all understand and acknowledge that it is not easy for anyone to stay confined to a room. It does take a toll on mental health and we need to support our players in this. If any player wants to opt out of any series to ensure his mental health, he will be allowed to do that and it won’t be used against him because nothing is more important than the players’ mental and physical health,” Wasim said.

“We have also advertised for the post of sports psychologist and soon we’ll have one for our players who’ll work with them,” the PCB chief said.

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