London: Criticising the Indian government for banning its team from playing in bilateral series against Pakistan, outgoing ICC president Malcolm Gray has said whatever the “political arguments”, the decision is “hurting” the game immeasurably.
“While the BCCI has decided to pursue this goal (of resumption of bilateral series) on its own, the ICC wishes to work with it and the Indian government to try and identify a way in which this impasse can be broken,” Gray said in the ICC annual report here.
“Whatever the political arguments, the decision of not allowing India to participate in bilateral ties is hurting the game immeasurably,” he said.
Gray said he had been invited by the PCB to meet Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to discuss the issue.
“I took great encouragement from his enthusiasm for the sport and commitment to avoid making political mileage out of one of the world’s great sporting rivalries. Unfortunately, this view is not shared in India.”
He said the Indian cricket board can also play a big role in resumption of ties between the two sides.
“The BCCI has elected to shoulder a heavy responsibility to the game by taking on the task of working with its government to allow the resumption of cricketing ties between the two nations,” said Gray.
Gray also hoped for resumption of cricketing relations between all members of the ICC but admitted safety and security continued to be a major problem over the past 12 months.
“The ICC role — in conjunction with the boards — is to explore every possible option to ensure the continuation of scheduled matches.”
Meanwhile the ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, in his annual report Thursday, admitted that umpires and Match Referees had not been consistent in applying the new Code of Conduct for the players.
Speed said ICC was continuously working with its Elite Panel of umpires to improve the general standards.
He also expressed hope that in the next one year, ICC would become a unified organisation in charge of both men’s and women’s cricket. (PTI)