Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has demanded a public apology from the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) for issuing an offensive statement after the May 31 blast in Kabul, but the latter’s chief has said that there is no need for it.
Afghanistan’s capital was rocked by a bomb blast in May which killed 80 while nearly 500 were left injured, and soon after the blast the ACB tweeted that it is cancelling the mutual agreement with Pakistan.
“One day, their chairman [Atif Mashal] met me and was very positive about having good relations,” PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan said in Lahore as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “But next day he gave an extremely political statement about Pakistan, so then we told them that we don’t have anything to do with you.
“He later did express his regret on making the statement and had also apologised privately. But we, the board, have taken a position that until they apologise in public, we should not be reviving any cricketing ties with them.”
During their meeting in Lahore, just three days before the blast, both boards agreed to strengthen bilateral cricket relations through future series between the two national teams, A teams and U16 teams.
The PCB also promised technical assistance through training for curators, scorers, umpires and coaches, and also promised to provide its biomechanics facility to Afghanistan.
PCB further offered to provide a cricket ground to Afghanistan to use for their tournaments and matches. However, ACB cancelled the agreement, which seemed to be in their favour, by alleging Pakistan for the attack in Kabul.
“The ACB hereby cancels all kinds of cricket matches and initial mutual relationship agreement with the PCB,” the Afghan board said on its Facebook page after the blast. “No agreement of friendly matches and mutual relationships are possible with a country where terrorists are housed and provided safe havens.”
PCB then, in reply to ACB’s statement, said that their sympathies were with the victims and their families but they will not allow neighbouring country’s board to malign Pakistan.
“The PCB strongly rejects the baseless allegations levelled by the ACB in the wake of the tragic Kabul blast,” the PCB had said. “While our sympathies are with the victims and families affected by the tragedy, we reject the irresponsible statement made by the ACB and hereby announce the cancellation of the proposed series between the two countries.”
PCB added that they have always helped Afghanistan in developing their cricket and cricketers. “PCB has always encouraged the development of cricket in Afghanistan and millions of Afghan refugees were first introduced to the game in Pakistan,” the statement further added. “Over the years, the PCB helped cricketers in Afghanistan develop their expertise and an entire generation of Afghan national players honed their cricketing skills in Pakistan.”
Mashal, however, insisted there is no need for an apology. “Our relations with other cricket boards, including PCB, are based on mutual respect and national interests and we do not see the need for an apology,” he said according ESPNcricinfo.