September 1, 2001

BCB faces bankruptcy

Bangladesh were fearing bankruptcy after New Delhi said cricketing ties between Pakistan and India will only resume after the normalization of political relations between the two neighbors.

The director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Ashraf-ul-Haq, talking exclusively to Dawn, further said he would condemn India's withdrawal from the Asian Test Championship during the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting at Lahore on Oct 20 and 21.

"Bangladesh will go bankrupt if India continues to run away from playing Pakistan. Their decision to pull out from the competition has badly affected the budget of the BCB as the profits from the championship would have been invested on the development of the game in Bangladesh," he said.

Ashraf believed that Pakistan and Sri Lanka might survive from the huge financial setback.

"We are the newest Test nation and need funds. We don't have the money required to uplift the standard of the game. But if we don't earn money, the sport will die. It would be a tragedy if a Test nation has to face this fate," Ashraf said.

"The ACC can invest that money in Bangladesh but that would be immoral and unethical as that money is for countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and others." he said.

Ashraf said BCB had planned a tri-nation one-day series also involving India and Pakistan in Dec and the eve of Pakistan's two-Test tour to Dhaka to cover up for the losses and generate some money through sponsorships and television rights. But feared that that proposal might not materialize under the present circumstances.

Although India has confirmed to play in the competition but there is a possibility of it withdrawing once again and that too at last minute. Similarly, Pakistan's position is also not clear.

"I think Pakistan will be justified in not playing India in Bangladesh until India tours Pakistan. But Pakistan board has always been kind and helpful and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) understands what will happen to us if money-generating continental events were not played," he said, "I sincerely hope that Pakistan will show a big heart as they were the ones who proposed us for Test status and supported all the way."

Ashraf said he would condemn India in the ACC meeting which follows the eight-day ICC executive board's meeting in October in Lahore. "I can't go there and say India did the right thing. Of course, I will condemn India," he said.

However, he added the ACC was not in a position to penalize India. "How can the ACC penalize India at this stage? But it is a lesson for everyone and hopefully there will be a clause to impose penalties on a nation which defaults."

He suggested that the country defaulting should be fined 50% from the income through title sponsorships and televisions rights. Just to recap, Pakistan will host the Asia Cup one-day tournament in Aug-Sept in 2002. Besides the four Asian Test playing countries, two qualifiers will also participate.

Ashraf disagreed that the game's governing body could do anything to India. He said the Asian Test Championship had nothing to do with the ICC as it was a continental tournament.