BCCI-PCB talks hit by anti-Pakistan protest
A protest by the Shiv Sena, a regional political party, has muddled the fate of discussions between the BCCI and the PCB over the proposed India-Pakistan series in December.
On Monday, talks between PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and BCCI president Shashank Manohar were deferred after 50 workers from the Shiv Sena stormed the BCCI office in Mumbai, shouting anti-Pakistan slogans and demanding that the BCCI cancel the series.
Neither Manohar nor Khan spoke with the media after the Shiv Sena protests. But conflicting statements came out of the BCCI. While the IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said the meeting would be held in Delhi on Tuesday, the BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said there would be no official meeting.
"The talks have not been called off," Shukla told PTI. "Mr Manohar and Mr Khan will speak to each other in evening today and tomorrow they are coming to Delhi for another round of talks. "In no way the dialogue will be stopped. BCCI has never compromised with national interests."
Thakur, however, contradicted Shukla a few hours later.
"Officially there is no meeting scheduled in New Delhi," he told reporters in Delhi. "If the talks happen, they will take place in Mumbai at BCCI headquarters. The BCCI and PCB have some outstanding issues. The PCB chief wanted to meet the Board president to discuss those things but those have been cancelled now."
Manohar is supposed to be in Pune for a family function on Tuesday.
The protest occurred soon after Manohar reached the BCCI office on Monday. Shaharyar, along with Najam Sethi, the head of the PCB's executive committee, were advised not to leave their south Mumbai hotel, which is a five-minute drive from the BCCI headquarters. They were supposed to meet Manohar there to discuss the possibility of India's scheduled series against Pakistan in December.
Later in the afternoon, the PCB delegation headed to the airport to leave for Delhi amidst heavy police security. Minutes after their departure for the airport, Manohar left the BCCI office and reached the same hotel, where he had also been staying.
The Shiv Sena has also threatened to stop the Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from officiating in the fifth and final ODI between India and South Africa to be played in Mumbai on Sunday.
The party has a history of anti-Pakistan protests. In 1999, it dug up the pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi before the start of the India-Pakistan series, and in 2006 threatened to disrupt Pakistan's Champions Trophy matches in Jaipur and Mohali.
In April this year, Pakistani pop singer Atif Aslam's concert in Pune had to be called off in the wake of such protests, and ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert, scheduled to be held in Mumbai on October 9, was also cancelled after party workers threatened to disrupt it.
Last week, Shiv Sena activists smeared columnist and writer Sudheendra Kulkarni with black ink, during an event he had organised to launch a book written by the former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo