“Pakistan Cricket is more sinned against than sinning,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt on Thursday after India officially cancelled their tour across the border in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror strikes.
Speaking to Hindustan Times from Lahore, Butt said: “I have received an official communication from the BCCI president about the cancellation of the tour and accept it in good gesture. The tour is not on due to political or diplomatic reasons, but the PCB and the BCCI will continue to support each other.”
The Pakistan Cricket Board is stuck in a quagmire of financial losses and it’s efforts to wriggle out of the crisis ever since the cancellation of the Champions Trophy received another body blow after India cancelled its tour. “We are in deep distress financially and lack of matches on home soil will cost us especially after the $140.5 million television deal we struck with Ten Sports,” Butt said. The PCB chief’s ordeal springs from the fact that the country’s cricket body was in financial doldrums ever since Butt took over from Dr Nashim Ashraf. “It has been a fight to improve our financial situation from day one and the tour cancellations are further additions to our agony,” Butt added.
Pakistan had hoped to raise some revenue with the India tour, as India-Pakistan matches are great crowd-pullers anywhere in the world. “People love to watch India-Pakistan matches.” However, Butt has sent an immediate missive to the Sri Lankan cricket board urging them to play in Pakistan in January next year.
As an added measure, the PCB is also planning to downsize some of its staff and other expenses to meet with the current financial crisis.
Butt added that he is personally in the process of finalising the overseas tours of Pakistan next year and according to the 2009-10 fixture, they will face Bangladesh in March, UAE in April, Australia in May, Sri Lanka in July, Australia in November, New Zealand in December and the Twenty20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy in July and October.