Former ICC President rues the absence of Indian players in Pakistan World XI Tour

Former ICC President rues the absence of Indian players in Pakistan World XI Tour

The tournament marks the return of cricket to Pakistan after a long drought of major cricketing events in the nation since 2009.

Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images for The ICC)

The World XI tour of Pakistan couldn’t have started off on a better note, with the home team winning the first T20I against the star-studded World XI side at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. The tournament marks the return of cricket to Pakistan after a long drought of major cricketing events in the nation since 2009. While many international players have taken part in the Independence Cup, former ICC President and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) functionary, Ehsan Mani lamented the absence of Indian players in the mix.

Mani elucidated on his stance at the non-participation of Indian players in the tour. The glamorous playing squad of the ICC World XI consists of big names like Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Darren Sammy, George Bailey and Paul Collingwood. The side features 5 South Africans, 3 Australians, 2 West Indians, 1 Bangladeshi and 1 Englishman, with Indian players being conspicuously absent.

Former ICC President, Ehsan Mani feels some Indian players could have participated

“I’m a little disappointed that there are no players from India. It would have been very nice. I know India is involved in the series against Australia, but it would have been nice to get the Indian players as well. Because you know, at the end of the day the game of cricket binds all of us together. There’s nothing like cricket to bring people together and help build relations between people and countries,” Mani said in his talk with Indian Express.

Speaking about the Indian players who, according to him, may have taken part in the event, he stated, “Some recently-retired Indian cricketers could have played in this series and there are (also) some Indian players who won’t be featuring in the shorter formats; the series between India and Australia. So there was ample room for some of them to participate (here).”

Mani also went on to stress that cricket, being a universal sport, should not be influenced by political scenarios. “Look, Pakistan and India have been taking part in a lot of events outside full international cricket series. There have been bilateral trade (close to US $3 billion) and cultural exchanges. Why is there an embargo on cricket? I think cricket is being used for political purposes, which is wrong,” he said.

When asked about the security measures that had been employed for the high-profile tournament, the former ICC President stated, “A lot of this security that they (World XI) are getting is over and above of what is required. The reality is that there’s no perceived security threat that one is concerned about. But in terms of security and the level of comfort (to touring teams), Pakistan is capable of holding international matches.”